Why Jayden Connors faces his biggest test yet
JAYDEN Connors has never played in Papua New Guinea before and is set for the most monumental challenge of his rugby league career.
The 22-year-old had a stunning debut last week in the Intrust Super Cup.
He produced a man-of-the match performance against the Northern Pride where he scored two tries and set two up playing dummy half in attack.
He also did a great job defending on the wing. The next assignment in Port Moresby on Saturday against the Hunters won't be as easy.
"The trap for him is that he has had 22 years to prepare for his first game, but seven days to prepare for his second one,” co-coach Ben Walker said.
"Any debut is the easiest game you play because you've had so long to get ready for it. But the hardest you play is the second because you don't have long to prepare and you are so euphoric after your first.
"Jayden played so well in his first game for us. Now he has to start again and go through the pre-match nerves like everyone does.
"This will be a tough game for him because it doesn't get any harder than playing PNG over there.”
Walker said the bonus for the Jets was that everyone, apart from Connors, had made the PNG trip.
"So it is not going to be a completely different experience for them like it has been in previous years,” he said.
"Every time we have been up there we have actually debuted players in PNG which is a tough thing to do.”
The QT asked Walker to provide a sense of what it is like to take the field in PNG, where the atmosphere is electric.
"I haven't played against the Hunters, but I have played in New Guinea for the Broncos against Penrith,” he said.
"The first thing these guys notice is that it is louder than any other game you play, other than Suncorp Stadium in a grand final.
"The crowd participation is really good. It is loud and chaotic, but it is a really good stadium too.
"With the crowd energy, the Hunters feed off it. They are a tougher proposition up there because they do it every week.
"Our guys do it once a year, but this squad will know what to expect.”