NRL stars to play QLD Cup trial
A STAR-studded Souths Logan Magpies team, featuring several Canberra Raiders players, will take on a strong Ipswich Jets squad tonight at North Ipswich Reserve.
Raiders NRL player David Milne and Travis Waddell will line up against the Jets tonight to gain match fitness ahead of the NRL competition, which starts in two weeks.
But Ipswich has their own NRL regular in Gold Coast Titans Esi Tonga who will pair with Donald “The Duck” Malone in the centres.
Tonga is tipped to don the Jets’ jersey for the first few competition rounds as the Titans backline is stacked.
Speaking of stacked, the Jets’ back row stocks are brimming with talent with wholehearted lock Adam Boettcher coming off the bench and second rower Trevor Exton starting at prop.
The Jets team is close to what their Round 1 list will resemble.
But coach Ben Walker played his cards close to his chest when asked if the team was the Jets’ strongest.
“Not necessarily. There’s a long way to go before Round 1,” Walker said.
“Whoever we put on the park will play well because they are playing in this system.
“We have a really strong squad and each one of them will do the job for us when asked.”
Marshall Chalk nabs the fullback role for tonight and is set to begin the year in that position.
“He’s a good chance to be our fullback,” Walker said.
“Nothing is really cemented. We will see how this trial goes and then look at the team make-up in the next couple of weeks.”
The Jets have lost all three of their trial matches to the Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm and Tweed Heads Seagulls.
But Boettcher, who is working for Walker’s new Ipswich-based real estate company Calibre Real Estate, said this year would be different for the reigning wooden spooners.
“The squad’s a lot fresher this year compared to last. Our fitness has improved,” Boettcher said.
“I think there’s a better, more energised feeling in the club.”
Jets veteran Brendon Lindsay, who returns to the club after a five-year stint in England, said competition for spots was intense.
“I came back here to show I could perform at this level but it is looking to be a lot tougher to grab a spot in the QCup team then I imagined,” he said.
“There’s four halves here gunning for two spots and we all have a good chance.”
The back row of Jacob Ling, Lorenzo Maafu, Keiron Lander is poised to be one of the best in the Queensland Cup.
Throw in Sam Martin, Ronnie Alovili and Boettcher and the Jets will have a quality mobile forward pack to call on.
There are several injured players, including Ian Lacey, Matty McPhee, Scott Ireland, Ben Loxley and Brendon Lindsay amongst others, missing this weekend’s trial.
The Jets Colts and FOGS Cup will also be looking to hit form tonight.
Both teams lost to the Tweed Heads Seagulls last weekend.
Colts were beaten 26-6 while the FOGS Cup team was defeated 24-4 at North Ipswich Reserve.
Ipswich Jets v Souths Logan Magpies, North Ipswich Reserve today.
Game times: Colts – 3.30pm, FOGS Cup – 5pm, QCup – 6.30pm.
1. Marshall Chalk, 2. Ramon Filipine, 3. Donald Malone, 4. Brendon Marshall, 5. Luke Walker, 6. Todd Riggs, 7. Matt Duggan, 8. Tyson Lofipo, 11. Jacob Ling, 12. Lorenzo Maafu, 13. Keiron Lander. Interchange: 14. Jarrod McInally, 15. Nathaniel Neale, 16. Sam Martin, 17. Esi Tonga, 18. Smith Samau, 19. Adam Boettcher.