'Seage' mentality fires Ipswich Jets finals quest
ULTIMATUMS don't faze the Ipswich Jets.
Never have, never will.
But they face one now.
To make the Intrust Super Cup finals the Jets must win all of their remaining five round games.
Even that may not be enough, but the mission is clear.
Six rounds remain, five games and a bye for Ipswich, and 12 points must be acquired.
Cast your minds back to 2015 and the Jets won their last five games of the season in the finals, against the best of the best, to claim the Intrust Super Cup and NRL State Championship.
The run home after the Townsville Blackhawks clash in Winton on Saturday night is Northern Pride (home), PNG (away), bye, Mackay (home) and CQ (home).
Souths-Logan Magpies are in sixth on 24 points, four points clear of the Jets on 20.
Souths will need to lose at least twice, and more likely three times, in the run home for Ipswich to sneak into the finals.
Powerhouse forward Josh Seage said the team would not be looking too far ahead, but would embrace each challenge as it presented itself.
"Most of the boys are smart enough to work out what the situation is. But (the attitude) is virtually like 'we will go out and play this game, win it and keep on doing that'," Seage said.
"If we start looking at every single thing, about what we need to do and other teams need to do, then we won't be focussed on what we need to do each week.
"In 2015 we went out really confident. This year we are in the same position.
"It is not too daunting because we know we can beat any team when we are on. Everything we do is out of the box.
"No-one thought we were going to do short kick-offs for four or five years and keep getting them back. No-one thinks we can (make the finals), but we've proved them wrong before.
"We know we can win five games in a row. There are a lot of teams that have won more than that this year.
"We are always up for Townsville and have had some good clashes with them, and we always enjoy going over to PNG. So it is not too daunting in respect to the two teams we have to play in the top six."
The Jets fly up on Saturday to Winton, via Barcaldine, which is not ideal. But Seage said that would not be a factor and the team would make the best of the situation.
"When we do travel it is good for us because we are a pretty close group," he said.
"We'll play some poker and we enjoy each other's company so that will put us in good spirits anyway."
Seage has returned this season from a knee injury which kept him out for more than a year.
The last month he has been steadily building towards the form that saw him be such an integral member of the 2015 premiership side.
"From the first game I came back to last weekend it feels like I am improving each week and getting back towards how I was playing beforehand," he said.
"I was pretty happy with how I played last weekend (against Easts) and hopefully with more games and more minutes it is all going to come back to me."
Seage and his teammates got a taste of what it is like to win a premiership in 2015, but the Ipswich school teacher is not satisfied with that.
"I was at Wynnum in 2012 playing colts when the club won the (Queensland Cup) grand final," he said.
"I was there that day and I remember going into the dressing sheds and thinking 'how good is this?' Then to do it with the Jets in 2015 was amazing.
"It is feeling that once you get is great, but to replicate it . . . there's nothing much you wouldn't do to get that feeling back."
The contrasts in styles between the Jets and the Blackhawks is stark. It is free-wheeling versus structured. Unpredictable versus predictable.
"We know what they are going to do, we just have to go out there and stop it," Seage said.
"We don't know what we are going to do, but hopefully whatever we do on the day works."
Seage said Nat Neale, Tyson Lofipo and Sebastian Pandia were inspiring the side up front which gave him confidence the Jets could match the Blackhawks in the middle of the park.
Intrust Super Cup: Ipswich Jets v Townsville Blackhawks Saturday night (6pm): at Eric Lenton Memorial Recreation Ground, Winton.
Jets: 1. Wes Conlon, 2. Michael Purcell, 3 Marion Seve, 4 Nemani Valekapa, 5. Richard Pandia, 6. Chris Ash, 7. Dane Phillips, 8 Mitch Carpenter, 9. Luke Capewell, 10 Nat Neale, 11. Jesse Roberts, 12. Sebastian Pandia, 22. Tyson Lofipo, 14. Sam Martin, 15. Huskie Teutau, 16. Josh Seage, 17. Lachlan Roe, 18. Ben White. Co-coaches: Ben and Shane Walker.
Points: PNG 32, Sunshine Coast 29, Easts 27, Redcliffe 26, Townsville 26, Souths-Logan 24, Ipswich 20, Mackay 19, Wynnum-Manly 18, Norths 14, Burleigh 14, CQ 11, Northern Pride 10, Tweed Heads 10.