Ipswich tunes up for Wynnum clash by sinking Burleigh
THE Ipswich Jets qualified for the Queensland Cup semi-finals after beating Burleigh 40-22 at the North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday.
The win secured Ipswich fifth spot on the ladder, meaning they will travel to Wynnum to play fourth-placed Wynnum Manly in an elimination semi this weekend.
It would have been a home final for the Jets if not for Wynnum Manly's defeat of leaders Northern Pride, who rested a host of players from the clash.
But it didn't matter to the Jets on Saturday.
They were just happy to know they'd reached the finals.
"It feels great," Jets winger Jarrod McInally said.
"It was a relief but there's a long way to go. We can't rest on our laurels at this point."
McInally and most of his teammates know from bitter experience how little reaching the finals means if you lose the following weekend.
It has happened to them the past two seasons.
"You don't want to just make the finals," McInally said.
"We don't want to go the same way again."
Hopefully experience counts for something.
"You don't want to leave anything out on the field," McInally said when asked what he'd learned from the past two semi-final campaigns.
So it was more relief than celebration when full-time rang and all but secured their semi-finals spot.
Particularly as the visitors made the Jets earn their win, despite being out of finals contention themselves.
"It was bloody hot," McInally said.
"They gave it to us. Then they made a few compounding errors in their own half.
"We capitalised on that and got a roll on through the middle."
It was 12-all at half-time, prompting Jets co-coach Shane Walker to launch into the Jets in the change room.
"He said 'if you want to play semi-finals, it's time to have a dig ... or would you rather go to Broadbeach tomorrow like they will be'."
The inference was Burleigh will be celebrating Mad Monday today with no finals to play.
McInally appreciated the normally quietly spoken coach's fired-up approach.
"I don't look too much into the semi-finals equations," he said.
"I just want to go out and win every weekend."
Walker's words worked as the Jets scored three tries in the opening 12 minutes of the second half to assert their superiority.
McInally has been one of the Jets' most consistent performers in recent seasons.
It earned him selection in the Queensland Residents team this season, but he remains a harsh critic of his own form.
He feels he should be doing more and has struggled to hit his best form week-in, week-out.
Nor was he willing to reflect on personal achievements while the hard work remains ahead.
"The season's not over yet," he said.
The only downside to yesterday's win was injury to prop Rowan Winterfield.
A grade two medial ligament tear could mean the end of his season, whatever the Jets do next weekend.
- The Jets have finished the Queensland Cup minor premiership in fifth spot.
- On Sunday they will play the fourth-placed Wynnum Manly in an elimination semi-final at Wynnum.