Tweed trip low on Jets priority list
SOME grounds make you spring out of bed knowing the sun is shining and the birds are singing.
The Piggabeen Sports Complex at Tweed Heads is not one of those.
The Jets have a terrible record at Tweed although they have gone a long way to turning that around.
The Jets have only won three times at the ground from 17 games. In 2014, the Jets recorded their first win at the coast in the first week of finals.
The Jets backed it up with another victory in round 24, 2015, and round one in 2017.
Tweed have not beaten the Jets since round 13 in 2016.
The Jets have won the past three games between the clubs. Head-to-head Tweed are still in front 19 wins to 13.
Jets co-coach Shane Walker shared what makes Tweed such a hard place to secure two points.
"Most times it is wet and uninviting so teams turn up and find it hard to be mentally ready to go,'' Walker said.
"It's a lot easier to be ready for football when you're playing on nice lush green grass and you can smell hot chips and the sun is shining."
One Seagull that will be hoping for a hard and fast track will be Tweed tryscoring machine Brayden McGrady. He is the Intrust Super Cup's leading try scorer with 10 from five games.
McGrady has 19 tries from 17 games for Tweed so the Jets will be on high alert.
Meanwhile, Tweed coach Ben Woolf was preparing for his first time coaching against the Jets.
"We will do some vision and make sure we are aware what can happen,'' Woolf said.
"The Jets are really adjusting well at the moment to Ben and Shane's style of football so that makes them dangerous. Any team above you on the ladder is dangerous and we are a young team so it'll be a good experience."
Tweed captain Cheyne Whitelaw also offered his thoughts.
"I remember watching the Jets when you won the competition and I played against Nat Neale a few years ago for Residents,'' Whitelaw said.
"He is a really hard man to stop. I think he's getting better as he gets older.''
Great place to work
FOR a rugby league fan, walking through the doors at First Grade Group is like walking into Disneyland.
The three-owner team of Shane Walker, Brad Watts and Trent Young meet you and shake your hand welcoming you to their work place.
Shane Walker coaches the Ipswich Jets as well as having played 150 games for South Sydney and the Broncos.
Brad Watts played 99 games for the Storm and Rabbits.
Trent Young lined up in 15 games for Souths.
First Grade would have a handy Intrust Super Cup side if they were admitted to the competition.
Busily working away for First Grade and then having an impact for the Jets on the weekend were Michael Purcell, Marmin Barba, Sam Caslick, Richie Pandia, Sebastian Pandia and Denzel King.
Then there were Norths' players Javarn White and Carne Doyle Manga while Tweed player Lindon McGrady walked past and Easts Tiger Matthew Groat looked busy.
First Grade was recently a ground sponsor for the Jets v Blackhawks game, showing their support for the Jets and Intrust Super Cup.
So are there ever any arguments over what happened on the weekend?
Barba was quick to reflect on his work place's unique football situation.
"There is always a bit of banter and the guys making sure the Easts' guys or Tweed guys know what is going to happen on the weekend,'' Barba said.
"We like reminding them to watch the short kick-off.
"Maybe let them know that Michael Purcell looks fast and ready to score."
THE short kick-off is done to create a contest and regain the ball but how do the Jets decide what type of short kick-off to use?
Ben Walker explained.
"Depends on the conditions, if it's blowing a gale then you want the high one to hold up there,'' he said.
"If it's hard surface we want it to bounce and rear up at them; that can be hard to stop. If the ground is wet, you want it skidding along at the opposition.''
Does who the other team have come come into calculations? "No doesn't matter who you are or what skill set you have a ball drilled from 10 metres away on a wet surface is a hard catch,'' Walker said.
Remember that Jet?
JET number 484 will be at the Jets v Tweed game this week in his role as Tweed CEO.
Paul Stephenson played 43 games for the Jets after playing 55 NRL games for Manly and the Sharks.
"I came straight from the Sharks at the end of 2008 and stayed two years at the Jets. I loved my time there,'' Stephenson said.
"Tweed and Jets probably aren't too dissimilar financially but also proud clubs that are very in touch with their history.
"We had a new coach and new players so it was important that one of my main jobs was to make sure that they understood what it means to play for Tweed.
"I am learning a lot and really enjoy the CEO role, you have to be very hands on and fill a number of roles. We have great people here and that helps me a lot.
"I am looking forward to catching up with the Jets this week."
THE Jets best attacking side is their left with 10 tries or 40% while their best defensive third is their middle with only four or 13% of tries scored through there.
A cold beer with . . .
It is 1982 and you are off to the cinema to see Rocky III. Before that, you stop and watch Wests v Jets at the North Ipswich Reserve. Playing for Wests is a young Tony Currie., who would win the Rothmans Medal that year and play his first Origin game. We sat down to talk Jets v Wests.
In 1982, the Jets are in the State League and you are at Wests winning the Rothmans Medal. Any Jets memories (Wests beat Ipswich 34-17)? I was 19 and and I particularly remember our prop Bobby Green having made a comeback and giving us some grunt in the front row. His opposite prop was a wild ex-Panther Gordon Reid. These two bulls went at it at every opportunity. There were uppercuts in the scrum, kneeing and everything possible between the two. I was young and could not believe this sort of play could happen. I guess when there are no cameras, anything goes. The State League was a great concept for country rugby league and I am just glad we did not have Colonel Sanders on the front of our jerseys.
Who is the favourite Ipswich footballer you played with? There can only be one and he would be Kevin Langer, older brother of Alfie. Unbelievably, I first met Kevin in a final for a Channel 7 schoolboy "pass the ball" competition where we both got beaten by a union player. As a consolation prize, Kevin and I both won a pair of Bogart jeans, which had to be collected in Brisbane City. Kevin and his little brother (Alfie) had caught the Rattler down from Ipswich and made their way to the Mt Coo-tha station for the final. Being Saturday, town was shutting at 12pm so my mother offered to drive us down to collect the jeans and then drop Kevin and Allan back at the train station. I was fortunate to play with Kevin at the Panthers. Kevin was a tremendously underrated player who did not receive the recognition his talents deserved. He never gave less than 100% and like his brother was a very, very brave player. We are still friends today and I was fortunate to attend his wedding.
You played again in Wests grand final win in 1993 with Brad Thorn and Adrian Lam. How enjoyable was that year at the end of your career? This was a great experience for me. I had started with the Panthers in 1981, '82, '83, '84 and '86 and returned after winning the Broncos first grand final. I was not planning to play after I retired but got the call from Panthers coach Gary Grienke to replace an injured Sam Smith in the centres. We had a great team and fantastic spirit and it was a pleasure to help a young Brad Thorn and Adrian Lam on their way to greatness. I do not remember much about the grand final because I was knocked out in a tackle by Paul Green (current Cowboys coach) and got carted off on a stretcher.