Tough Jets test to bring out team's best
THE Ipswich Jets go on the road again this week, this time to Townsville on Saturday.
The Blackhawks have been in the Intrust Super Cup since 2015 but the Jets have only played them once at their home ground.
That was in 2016 when the Jets won 24-12 with Michael Purcell scoring two tries.
Purcell crossed for a double against the Blackhawks in 2016 and again in 2017.
In a Jets' controversy last week, Chris Ash was credited with the Jets' first try in the seventh minute when in fact it was Purcell.
That was changed so Purcell was acknowledged for scoring three tries two weeks in a row.
Asked about his great record against the Blackhawks and his past two matches, Purcell said: "I always scan their defence, waiting for someone to look heavy on their feet.
"I love playing Townsville. They have a lot of big guys and they tire quickly. I'll be going into the weekend with the same mindset waiting for the big Blackhawks to look tired."
The Jets are on the positive side with the Blackhawks five wins to three. The Jets beat the Blackhawks 20-18 in round two this season.
Dane Phillips spoke about the importance of away games.
"Our season is on the line,'' Phillips said. "Backs against the wall kind of stuff, but that brings the best out in the Jets.
"Being away tests teams and personalities. That's why we love it; we are a team that play for one another for the right reasons.''
The Blackhawks have created a fortress in the north since 2015, recording 33 wins from 43 games with one draw.
"They are a tough team that is clinical in most parts of games,'' Phillips said.
"Their big players usually stand up and as a team everyone does their job most weeks within their structured play."
THE Jets were in complete control over the Mackay Cutters last weekend with 78% of the ball and seven line breaks to zero.
The Jets had only 15 missed tackles in their 54-0 demolition, which produced all sorts of records.
I talked Ben Walker through some efforts and got his reaction.
It was the Jets' biggest win in Mackay, surpassing the previous best in 2011 when current Jets Colts coach Brendon Marshall got a hat- trick and the Jets won 56-10.
"I remember that game. Trevor Exton spoke at half-time to inspire the guys. It's great for this team to achieve Jets' milestones like that."
It was the Jets' biggest ever winning margin, better than the 52 point win (62-10) against Tweed in 2008 and Mackay in 2014.
"If we had played the best team on Friday night at their best we still win by 30. That is how good the guys were."
It was the first time a Jets team kept the opposition to nil since beating Mackay 30-0 in 2009. Brendon Marshall got a hat-trick.
"It's the first time Shane and I have coached a team to nil. We were very happy with that.
"Brendon really liked Mackay."
The great win was the first time the Jets cracked 50 since beating Pride 54-26 in 2015.
"It doesn't happen too often but it's nice when it does and we scored some great tries."
Every forward ran over 100m with Tyson Lofipo accumulating the most with 187m.
"Our forwards just dominated. I couldn't fault them at all in attack or defence. We were so happy with the nil; we deserved to keep them on nil. Our defence was sensational."
Jake ready to go
IPSWICH product Jake Turpin played his first game for the Broncos last Sunday, coming off the bench.
He played 46 minutes and made 32 tackles.
"It was a great game to make my debut,'' Turpin said.
"It was fast, and Wayne (coach Wayne Bennett) said I'd get on for about 25 minutes so I was ready to go."
Jake's parents still live in the Haigslea area.
"I left for Melbourne the day after graduating from St Edmund's so I never got to play any grade for the Jets but I was at Brothers from under 13,'' Turpin said.
Turpin reminded me of another former Ipswich hooker in Mick Ryan. Both have excellent tackling technique and were fearless in the ruck.
JET number 553 Ben White will play his 50th ISC game this weekend in Townsville.
Wes Conlon needs eight points to be the second highest Jets points' scorer.
Nat Neale will play game 119 and become the eighth most capped Jet.
THE Jets' missed tackle count of 15 against Mackay was their lowest of the year and more than half their average of 36 this season.
A cold beer with . . .
Tony Spencer has been strapping and working at the Broncos since 1988. He is one of the only original staff members remaining. Spencer has seen every Ipswich footballer from Allan Langer to Jake Turpin come through the Broncos' system. We sat down for a beer.
Who is your favourite Ipswich footballer? I cannot go past Alf and Kevin Walters. I have spent so much time with them at the Broncos and Origin. They are so quick witted.
How has your role changed? When I started at the Broncos in 1988, I was part-time. I was a plumber and I would come in at 4pm and strap before training. In 1993, I put a proposal to John Ribot and he accepted it so I went full-time. The staff increase over that time has been massive. At the start, we had a few people in the office and part-time staff; now we have all sorts of people with roles that did not exist in 1988.
How did you get involved in strapping? I had a serious neck injury and I was told not to play again so had to find another way to stay involved so I took up strapping. It was an Ipswich trainer Darryl Gatley who got me involved in strapping. He did the first Origin strapping and was involved with my club Wests.
Is Origin camp still just as much fun? I love it. I have been involved with the Queensland team since 1998. The players and the week away make it such an enjoyable part of the year.