Jets' season hinges on victory
IT WAS hardly the preparation prescribed for a must-win game as Brendon Marshall toiled in the heat at work yesterday.
Working for Ipswich City Council, the Jets centre was landscaping around the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
It is across town at the North Ipswich Reserve he will expend his energy this afternoon, looking to keep the Jets' season alive and possibly secure a home semi-final.
The Jets take on Burleigh in the final round of home-and-away fixtures.
A win could put the fifth placed Jets into third spot but would most likely see them finish fourth and secure a home semi next weekend.
A loss could see any of Souths Logan, Tweed Heads, Redcliffe and Norths move ahead of them, meaning the Jets season would be over.
Burleigh has nothing to play for except win bonuses while the Jets will be cheered on by former players as it is Old Boys Day at the Reserve.
It means they should have the edge in motivation.
"The boys aren't too concerned," Marshall said of the pressure to qualify for finals.
"We're ready for Burleigh.
"We've talked about it.
"I think everyone's attitude is it is just another game of football.
"We want to win regardless of finals football.
"It's our last home game and is in front of the Old Boys."
The Jets have lost star centre Donald Malone, suspended for three weeks for a high tackle in last week's loss to Redcliffe.
The Jets most influential player, halfback Ian Lacey remains in doubt.
"Knowing him, he will play," Marshall said of Lacey.
"But losing Duck (Malone) is a massive blow for our left edge.
"Everyone knows how much of a freak he is and the tries he can score."
However if the Jets are on song they should be too strong for the Bears.
In saying that, the on-song Jets have rarely been seen of late.
The problem, according to Marshall, is the Jets have been giving away too much ball, tiring themselves out by having to make too many tackles and giving the opposition the advantage.
"We can't defend as much as we do," Marshall said.
"I can't speak for the others but it has taken a bit of a toll on me."
As the old man of the side at 33 it is perhaps no great surprise, particularly come finals time.
"I try to stay positive," Marshall said of how he deals with the increasing toll a footy season takes.
"Around July your body starts saying 'How you doing?' The head's 21 but the body is 33."
Eliminate the errors and the Jets have proven they can beat almost anyone, while making Marshall's life a whole lot easier.
"If we don't pressure ourselves we can beat any team," Marshall said. "That's all Lace barks at us.
"Keep it simple. He's like a broken record but he knows exactly when we're about to break teams.''
Queensland Cup: Ipswich v Burleigh at North Ipswich Reserve today, 3pm.
FOGS Cup: Ipswich v Easts at Langlands Park tomorrow, 12.15pm.
FOGS Colts: Ipswich v Burleigh at North Ipswich Reserve today, 12.45pm.