Why the Jets finals charge crashed so quickly
THE Ipswich Jets 2018 Intrust Super cup season has come to a shuddering stop.
Last Saturday's match did not go to plan despite such high expectations.
The Tigers were just too good.
With seven line breaks to three and 66 tackle breaks to 34, it was the complete contrast to the week before against Townsville for the Jets.
The Jets missed a season high 66 tackles. It's hard to win finals like that.
Jets forward Billy McConnachie was asked what went wrong. "It just wasn't our day,'' McConnachie said. "I can't explain it any more than that."
Jets fullback Michael Purcell offered his insight.
"Defence just wasn't at our best,'' Purcell said. "We had jobs to do and threats to stop but the urgency just was not there.
"I am very proud to have made the finals because we worked hard but disappointing to end the year like this."
MY highlights of 2018 were the tries scored by Michael Purcell.
My favourite was against the Pride at North Ipswich. From a standing start, he just left them for dead and ran the 60 metres.
Other highlights were the 54-0 win against the Cutters and the defensive effort against the Hunters to win 8-6.
The finals win over the Blackhawks was a great effort. It showed the Jets at their best.
Ben Shea and Nat Neale were outstanding all year.
Seage happy to return
JOSH Seage has been in France playing for Albi Tigers.
The Jets' premiership winner returned home this year and had been training back with the Jets for a month before getting the call-up on Saturday to tackle the Tigers for his 58th Intrust Super Cup game for the Jets.
"Being away really made me appreciate the Jets,'' Seage said.
"When I got out there on Saturday I reminded the boys it hasn't gone our way today. But gee when you're coming from playing in France in front of no one, playing for the Jets on a Saturday afternoon is pretty special.
"I was thankful for the Walkers for letting me play again for the Jets and play with my friends."
CANTERBURY have set up a preliminary final date with the Dragons next week in the NSW Cup.
I watched the Bulldogs v Roos elimination final and 17 minutes in, the familiar head hear of Jet Josh Cleeland was scoring a great try.
Cleeland was outstanding with seven tackle breaks.
Cleeland was asked how the finals were going and what would happen against the Dragons.
"It's my third grand final qualifier in three years so it would be nice to make another grand final,'' he said.
"The Dragons will be enthusiastic on the back of the NRL side performance; they might lose someone with Widdop being injured."
Cleeland nominated his Dragon to watch. "Jai Field is super-fast; we will have to stop him,'' Cleeland said.
WHEN the Jets awards roll around in a few weeks, expect Ben Shea and Nat Neale to be pretty dominant in voting.
Here's my selections:
Langer Medal - Nat Neale.
Best Back: Richard Pandia.
Best Forward: Nat Neale or Ben Shea.
Rookie of the year: Sam Caslick.
I THINK the Dolphins might break their wait this year after losing their past three grand finals in 2007, 2012 and 2016.
They might just jag it this year.
The rest and the inclusion of Kontoni Staggs might be enough.
NRL is a bit harder for me.
I will eliminate the Panthers and Roosters. They do not have any Jets so that leaves the Storm with Jets' trainer Mat Barradeen, the Sharks with Jet Kurt Capewell and Souths with coach and former Jet Anthony Seibold.
I will go Souths to win the competition in extra time over the Storm.
THE Jets used 26 players this season with seven Jets making their debut.
BEING my final column for another season, I would like to thank some people.
The Jets coaching staff - Ben and Shane, Todd Riggs, Brendon Marshall and Mark Bishop.
The Jets off-field staff who give up a tremendous amount of time and effort.
Steven Johnson and Jason Cubit who let me do this for the Jets.
Every Jet, or ex-Jet player or staff, who takes my phone calls and emails asking questions.
Greats of the game, Intrust Super Cup and BRL people that helped me with interviews thanks. How do you not get excited when Billy Slater shows up on your phone?
Trad McLean from the Broncos and Ben Lonergan at the Cowboys who are always helpful and just good people.
Brad Tallon, Michael Hillier, Colleen Edwards, Rob Burgin and Dave Maiden at the QRL who are terrific league people.
Nicole and Justine in the Jets' office.
Cooper Symly of Cooper's stat - a great contributor.
My beautiful wife who does not understand but knows I love the Jets and her.
And the QT for providing the forum to talk about something I love.
A cold beer with . . .
It is 1968 and a young front rower from Booval Swifts leaves Ipswich to have a crack at the big time. Des Morris would go on and play for Queensland and Easts' winning premierships as he went through the 1970's.
What are your football memories of playing in Ipswich? I was very fortunate when I came through Swifts. My under-16 to 18 coach was a tough, seasoned prop or second rower in Bob Smith, who also played for Swifts. A friend named Garry Biggam and I were promoted to A Grade because of injuries and regular first graders having to work. Garry and I got our opportunity and Bob Smith played first grade with us for the first few games and was there to help, support and protect younger players. Garry's dad Bill was the first grade coach at the time.
You leave Ipswich for Easts in 1968. How did that come about? In 1966-67, I had started making senior rep sides like the Bulimba Cup and Kruger Cup, which was a great competition in those days. Bulimba Cup was Brisbane, Ipswich and Toowoomba while the Kruger Cup was between Ipswich, Bundaberg and Rockhampton. I damaged my right knee so was out of action for a few weeks. In that time my then coach Jim Foreman put me onto a masseur at Annerley named Jim Bowen. Jim had many Easts players come to him and I believe that is where it may have started. In the end, Easts president Jack Atkin and Tom Drysdale , the Easts club treasurer, arranged to come up and see mum and dad at the One Mile and offered me a contract for the 1968 season. Swifts had made the grand final of the Ipswich competition against Brothers in 1967 and from that game, Terry Creedy and I were recruited to the Easts Tigers.
In 1970, you play for Queensland against Arthur Beetson and you score two tries. How was it against Arthur? That was a great night. We did not beat NSW that often back then. It was played at the Exhibition Ground on Tuesday and back up again on the Saturday at Lang Park. No lights at Lang Park those days. Playing against the Blues in those days was a great experience. With the likes of Big Arthur, Bob McCarthy, Ron Coote in the forwards and Bobby Fulton, John McDonald and other Australian players in the backs we would be competitive until about five-10 minutes before halftime and again in the second half then the score would blow out.
Do you have a favourite Ipswich footballer? One of my first coaches at Blair State School was the West End and Ipswich Bulimba Cup lock forward Mick Scully. I also admired the way Jimmy Foreman and Bob Smith played the game. Another player I admired was Swifts and Queensland six Don Barrett. I was also lucky enough to play with Ipswich, Queensland and Australian Easts winger Jeff Denman. He was a great player for the Tigers after he went to Brisbane after starting his career at the Old Railways Club, now the Ipswich Norths Tigers.