Why Jets are bracing for a mighty all-round test
NORTHS Devils come to Ipswich on Saturday with an impressive record at the home of the Jets.
Norths have won 11 and the Jets nine at the North Ipswich Reserve. There was also a draw.
Norths are in fourth spot, having won three of their past five games.
Away from home this year, Norths have lost one game from four. That was against Townsville.
Norths have scored 202 points this year and had 181 posted against them.
Jets have 173 points against their name in attack and 186 in defence.
The Jets have lost one game at home this season to Mackay.
You cannot talk Norths without including Todd Murphy.
The Devils' half will be the vocal point of everything the Devils do on the weekend.
Murphy is a busy player who loves going to the line and engaging players. He has gone to the line 26 times this season.
Murphy has two try assists.
He kicks in general play for the Devils and for goal with 58 points this season.
I caught up with Murphy to find out how Saturday was going to play out and asked him which Norths player the Jets had to stop.
"I think our strength this year has been we are just a good all-round team,'' Murphy said.
"I would not really nominate any standouts. We have players playing well but not one dominate player."
Norths coach Rohan Smith offered his thoughts when asked to nominate his Jets to stop.
"I think the Jets strength is the way they combine as a team,'' Smith said.
"They create broken play for themselves while most teams wait for the other team. You have good players across the field but the strength is the whole unit and the way they understand each other."
ANOTHER trip to Tweed and another sad lonely drive home.
At half time, I thought things were going pretty well after a slow first 10 minutes. Then Marmin Barba scored 10 minutes into the half and I was confident that things would be good from here.
It was a chaotic last 10 minutes with two tries by Tweed and a 50-metre penalty goal to win. At 18-18, the Jets went short to try to win the game.
I had to ask Ben Walker in retrospect do you kick long and force an error.
"Well sure but how often does that happen?'' he said.
"The chances of kicking long and keeping them inside the 30 in a set and then you, scoring is slim. In reality, they would have been kicking from halfway and we would have had to go 100 metres to score.
"We kicked off short to get the ball back and go 40 metres to win."
Nat Neale was excellent again playing 80 minutes in the front row. He has only been off the field for three minutes this year.
Neale played 77 minutes against Townsville in round two.
Kierran Moseley with a great defensive effort in the middle was players' player.
THE Queensland Residents will be selected in a few weeks.
I spoke to coach Jon Buchanan to push the case for a few Jets.
I gave Jon my best four Jets this year in Ben Shea, Nat Neale, Seb Pandia and Michael Purcell.
"You're right,'' Buchanan said.
"Nat Neale is the form front rower and I coached Ben at Wynnum. He looks fitter than he's ever been and he has been in conversations we have about the team.
"Purcell would have been there, we were so keen to pick him for the next level on the wing or fullback.
"Seb Pandia will get to represent PNG that weekend, but he would have been spoken about too."
IT may have gone unnoticed by many people but I was at the doubleheader at Lang Park on Saturday night and three of the four trainers were from Ipswich.
The Titans had Ben French, who is the Titans' physio.
Storm had Matt Barradeen and the Broncos had Luke Anning, who is the Broncos physio.
Matt and Ben both worked for the Jets before getting their NRL gig.
"It's just in your blood if you're from Ipswich,'' French said.
"If you cannot play, you still want to be involved. You have to still do something football."
FOR someone like me that loves data to back up what he is writing, this week's Walker explains is hard to get my head around.
"We just don't read stats,'' Jets co-coach Ben Walker said.
"They don't tell you the story of the game.
"On Saturday, Sam Caslick possibly made 10 tackles. Look at that and say well he did not work too hard.
"But three of them were vital and no one will ever read that on a stat sheet.
"They're great for the viewer and they seem to help provide clarity for people to know who played well but from our perspective it's the scoreboard and time in possession."
Remember that Jet?
JET number 322 was a second generation Panther who ended up at Ipswich.
Craig Green came to the Jets in 1999 and stayed for two years. Green played 41 games, scored 16 tries, three goals, one field goal and 71 points for the Jets.
"I came to Ipswich with Jason Twist there was some drama with coaching changing and Bill Gardner came in but we handled it and Bill brought a lot of professionalism to the Jets,'' Green said.
"They were very enjoyable years, great group of guys and we had a young team. Chris Lawler was a fantastic player and he probably ran the show for us on the field.
"A young Danny Coburn with hair who went on to be a club legend. In many ways, that late 90's team with so many young players was the team that had success in 2002.
"I wanted to stay longer and applied for the Reserve coaching role at the end of 2000 but Gary Grienke thought I would be too close to the current players if I went straight from playing to coaching.
"In a strange twist of Jets history a young Ben Walker lived with us in London when he played for the London Broncos in 1995."
Green has worked for Coke for 23 years and is currently coaching the Panthers women's team.
MARMIN Barba has 61 tries for the Jets..
He's chasing Donald Malone with 67, for the all-time Jets' record.
Marmin brought up his 350th point for the Jets with 61 tries and 54 goals.
A cold beer with . . .
Every Queensland kid has great memories of going to Lang Park. The Jets played their first game at Lang Park in April 1982 against Redcliffe and lost 27-0. I walked up Milton Road to go to Lang Park for the first time in 1989 to watch the Broncos beat the Bears 30-0. Wally scored right in front of me and I was happy. I sat in the outer, under the Winfield Cup sign and talked Lang Park and Jets with Alan Graham.
What is your role at Suncorp Stadium? General manager, which covers the overall management of everything at the stadium including customer service, ticketing, technology, security, police, commercial arrangements, procuring content, catering, sponsorship, signage, building and field maintenance, capital works and community relations. We have a great team of specialists who look after the specifics of each discipline.
So where does the general manager of a ground sit when he watches the football? Depending on the game, I do move around a bit to make sure our hirers and sponsors are happy. We have a great events team here who do a great job in running the stadium on game day so I do get the chance to watch some of the games in a spare seat somewhere or occasionally in a corporate area.
I am going to assume your biggest event at the ground is the 2015 ISC Grand Final? Absolutely - closely followed by any Origin game won by Queensland, the Horn/Pacquiao world title fights and some of the fabulous Broncos, Reds and Roar games we have had here over the years.
Can you remember your first ever time to Lang Park? Yes, as a primary school kid sitting in the outer watching my favourite team Souths play.
How long before an Alf statue and can he be in Jets' gear? Good question. If we had kept the offcuts from Mal's statue, we could have made one of Alf already.