Jets skipper aware of team’s missing victory ingredient
AS one of the best leaders in the Intrust Super Cup competition, Nat Neale threatened to guide his side all the way to another Ipswich Jets victory.
He crossed the line early, in what became his first eight-point penalty try, before setting up the second for Tyler Coburn with a surging run.
His team was suddenly 18-6 up against the third placed Tweed Seagulls at the North Ipswich Reserve.
However, somehow the Jets let the game they had on a string get away.
In the matter of minutes, the Jets advantage evaporated as the Seagulls found their attacking rhythm to secure a 32-26 victory.
For a player who regularly makes the Intrust Super Cup team of the week, Neale conceded it was a painful second half, especially with the Jets chasing back-to-back wins.
But as strong captains do, Neale faced the reality and tried to make sense of what went wrong.
"There were a couple of key moments where we didn't complete sets and we just couldn't get our moments going again and they just had most of the ball,'' he said. "And you can't win footy without the ball.''
After such a positive 40-24 win over the Central Queensland Capras in their previous clash, the Jets were looking to capitalise on a better start.
But they again conceded a try just before halftime to hold onto an 18-10 lead.
Neale had every right to assume the Jets were tracking towards a much needed second win in their sixth game.
"We just thought keep going the way we are going from the first half. We had it in the bag,'' he said.
Then the Jets paid for those "key moments''.
"We just let them in and we couldn't get back in the game,'' he said.
Neale was unsure what the first half penalty try was for. However, five-eight Josh Cleeland gave his team every chance of capitalising, going on to boot four penalty goals in the match.
Cleeland's kicking game was exceptional as were periods when forward Zac Hetherington zigzagged his way through the Seagulls defence and the Jets third try scorer Julian Christian looked dangerous at halfback.
Powerhouse substitute Blake Lenehan made some damaging runs and Seb Pandia took some stopping in his third game back after a knee reconstruction.
"It's great to have him (Seb) back. He takes a bit of the workload off me,'' Neale said.
Yet even with a similar stable side for the first six wgames, the Jets have a missing ingredient they need to find in a hurry.
Giving up a try before halftime in their past two games typified what Neale highlighted.
"Just a bit of lapse in concentration and game awareness,'' he said. "We'll work on that.''
The positive is the Jets have patches of brilliance.
"It's starting to get there,'' the 32-year-old Jets captain said, in his second stint with the Jets having made his debut in 2011.
"Like we're putting together for 20-30 minutes where we've got to put it together for 40 and then 80 minutes.
"Once we get that going, we'll get on a roll.''
The Jets have another week to reflect on how to achieve that before tackling the Burleigh Bears away.
They then have a weekend off before a trip to Toowoomba to play the competition leading Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
"It's always good to have an away game,'' Neale said.
"You can't dwell on the loss. You've just got to move forward and work on the positives.
"We've just got to play tough and game awareness is probably the biggest thing.''
STATE OF PLAY
TWEED SEAGULLS 32 (Talor Walters 3, Luke Burton 2, Lee Turner tries; Lindon McGrady 4 goals) def IPSWICH JETS 26 (Nathaniel Neale, Tyler Coburn, Julian Christian tries; Josh Cleeland 7 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 50 (Delouise Hoeter 2, Sam Scarlett 2, Max Elliott 2, Brodie Croft, Edward Burns, Richard Kennar tries; Brodie Croft 7 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 0 at BMD Kougari Oval.
NORTHERN PRIDE 26 (Grant Anderson, Jayden Corrigan, Paea Pua, Evan Child, Chris Ostwald tries; Tom Steadman 3 goals) def SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 16 (Albert Kelly 2, Creedence Toia tries; Isaiah Tass 2 goals) at Barlow Park.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 26 (Josh Beehag, Setu Tu, Jackson Frei, Viliami Vailea, Justin Worley tries; Sean O'Sullivan 3 goals) def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 24 (Kalifa Faifai-Loa 2, Michael Carroll, Griffin Neame, Carlin Anderson tries; Shaun Nona 2 goals) at Moreton Daily Stadium.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 58 (William Toloi 3, Patrice Siolo, BJ Aufaga-Toomaga, Paul Ulberg, Trent Loiero, Sam Burns, Matthew Milson, Cooper Johns tries; Todd Murphy 9 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 10 (Josh Smith, Matiu Stone-Dunn tries; Jack Quinn goal) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
BURLEIGH BEARS 36 (Sami Sauiluma 3, Greg Marzhew 2, Kurtis Rowe, Josh Berkers tries; Josh Rogers 4 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 0 at Bishop Park.
BRISBANE TIGERS 40 (Jordan Grant 2, Linc Port, Darren Nicholls, Aaron Pene, Aaron Booth, Isaac Lumelume tries; Aaron Booth 6 goals) def PNG HUNTERS 12 (Norman Brown, Jokadi Bire tries; Charlie Simon 2 goals) at Bycroft Oval.