Razzle-dazzle centres vital
WHETHER they win, lose or draw on any given week, you can be sure of a few things from any Ipswich Jets' performance.
Their line-speed will be exceptional, the forwards will go all day and centres Brendon Marshall and Donald Malone will perform freakish footy feats.
That is not where the similarities end between the Jets centres, who will line up together this afternoon as the Jets welcome Sunshine Coast to the North Ipswich Reserve.
Both are indigenous Australians, though that is hardly news with six Aborigines in the current Jets Queensland Cup 17.
Both are known by their animal nicknames. Malone is Duck and Marshall is Monkey to friends and teammates.
Both have had links with the North Queensland Cowboys, but weren't able to cement a first grade spot.
Marshall trialled with the Cowboys in 2000, when his good friend, now Gold Coast Titans captain Scott Prince was with the club.
"Tim Sheens left a message on my phone," Marshall said.
"He asked if I'd do the pre-season with them.
"I was going to sign a one-year contract. Then News Limited came in and cleared the place out."
Malone joined the Cowboys from the Jets in 2009 and played two first grade matches but his contract was not renewed.
"We all thought he'd make it," Marshall said.
"I don't know what happened up there. I watched his debut against Melbourne on the wing and I thought he went well."
Malone is unsure why he didn't get more opportunity to impress either.
"I reckon I went okay," Malone said. "I didn't do anything bad to lose my spot.
"I reckon I should have had more of a chance. But that's football."
Marshall is equally comfortable his NRL aspirations didn't come to fruition. It is good news for the Jets, with the 2008 grand final centre pairing reunited ever since Malone's return.
Malone doesn't remember Marshall from before he joined the Ipswich Jets.
However, Marshall knew what the club was getting when Malone came over from Easts in 2008.
"In 2007 I remember playing against him," Marshall said.
"He was a winger and just like he is now.
"He was a skinny little kid then but geeze, he could blow you away."
Malone joined the Jets the following year, as Marshall began to play his best football under coach Kevin Walters.
Malone left for the Cowboys and returned last season to renew his partnership with Marshall, who is glad to have him back.
"If you watch him play, he's electrifying," Marshall said.
"You can throw the ball to him and something happens.
"Against Tweed (on April 8) it was the last minute of the game and he palms a guy off and scores in the corner.
"He's a very good talker in defence and his attack is spot on.
"Trying to defend against him at training and does these little in-and-away moves, puts some footwork on and you're stuck trying to reach him."
The admiration is mutual.
"Being a young fella, I looked up to him," Malone said of first joining Marshall at the Jets in 2008.
"He's a similar player.
"A bit like I like to play."
"He does things other players don't.
"He's got that natural talent that can win a game out of nothing."
Junior club: Brothers, Mt Isa.
Favourite player growing up: Brad Fittler.
Best memory of Malone: In the 2008 season against Souths Logan when they had nine or 10 Canberra Raiders players, Donald went around them pretty much and left them sniffing at thin air.
Junior club: Murgon Mustangs.
Favourite player growing up: My uncle Steve Renouf.
Best memory of Marshall: When he set Kurt Capewell up for two tries on debut.