ABUZZ: Ipswich Jets star Richard Pandia, like all his teammates, has not taken malaria pills for the trip to PNG after they made the players sick and lethargic on previous visits. Who will bite who first in the clash with the Hunters in Port Moresby on Saturday? Only time will tell.
ABUZZ: Ipswich Jets star Richard Pandia, like all his teammates, has not taken malaria pills for the trip to PNG after they made the players sick and lethargic on previous visits. Who will bite who first in the clash with the Hunters in Port Moresby on Saturday? Only time will tell. Rob Williams

Why the Jets left malaria pills in bottle for PNG trip

TO HELL with malaria.

To get a gauge of how important two competition points is for the Ipswich Jets on Saturday in the Intrust Super Cup clash with the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby, the players have decided not to take malaria tablets as they usually do.

The mozzies will just have to buzz off.

In the past three visits virtually the entire squad of 17 players has been ill after popping the malaria pills, making an already daunting task near impossible.

 

DON'T BITE ME: Ipswich Jets co-coach Ben Walker. The stubble on his chin might make it harder for the mozzies to bite him in Port Moresby today.
DON'T BITE ME: Ipswich Jets co-coach Ben Walker. The stubble on his chin might make it harder for the mozzies to bite him in Port Moresby today. Rob Williams

This year, co-coach Ben Walker said Aerogard would do the trick in a game the Jets, two points outside the top six, must win to keep alive their finals hopes.

"We are going to run the gauntlet," Walker grinned.

"Two points right now is more important than a lifetime of malaria. That is how seriously we are taking this game.

"As long as we keep the Aerogard on, we'll be right.

"We are better prepared this time for the game because we have taken a few different measures.

"We have always taken malaria tablets in the week leading up to the game, but with that comes upset stomach symptoms.

"That has affected us badly in the past up there but this year we have decided not to take them."

Malaria is a disease contracted by humans when bitten by infected mosquitoes, causing an infection of the red blood cells.

Travel advisories say it is present throughout Papua New Guinea at altitudes below 2000m and that symptoms frequently don't occur until months after exposure, and sometimes not for years.

"We'll win this game and win the premiership . . . but we are not sure how we'll go next year," Walker chuckled.

"We'll be sweating buckets, having high fevers and not know where we got it . . . until we think back and remember how we didn't take those malaria tablets."

 

PASSION: Rugby league fans in Papua New Guinea are as vocal as they get. The Ipswich Jets will find that out today when they clash with the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby where, hopefully, the mozzies stay away.
PASSION: Rugby league fans in Papua New Guinea are as vocal as they get. The Ipswich Jets will find that out today when they clash with the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby where, hopefully, the mozzies stay away. ILYA GRIDNEFF

The QT realised this was a cracker yarn, but thought we'd give club chairman Steve Johnson a call just to find out the club's position.

Johnson said catching malaria in Port Moresby was "not as big a risk as going to other parts of PNG".

"It is true. Every time our boys have played up there they have been sick," he said.

"But one of our board members goes to PNG once a month and he has never taken the tablets. He just uses fly spray."

There are fewer mosquitoes in the city compared to rural areas in PNG, Johnson said.

In the past the Hunters hosted games in the north of the country at Kokopo where mozzies are abuzz.

"One of the reasons PNG was almost invincible up there was because every side that played them was literally sick," Johnson said.

The QT got the malaria questions out of the way . . . so now we move on to the question of typhoid shots.

"That was optional, because that can affect your performance too," Walker grinned.

"So some of the guys thought 'stuff it we are not taking typhoid shots. We'll run the risk with typhoid and Hepatitis A as well'.

"The two points is what we are after."

Typhoid is a bacterial infection which can cause a high fever and a wide range of issues including constipation. So if you see Jets players eating bucket loads of prunes in the weeks ahead you will know why.

The Jets players love a challenge and they don't get any bigger than a visit to a sweltering Port Moresby to line up against a hot outfit.

"The players are going to approach it with a great feeling of confidence, based on the way we have been playing and the improvement in us," Walker said.

"They know it is going to be a tough game."

The Jets will be hoping the decision not to take malaria tablets does the trick and doesn't come back to bite them on the backside.

As they used to say in the iconic Max Walker advertisement for fly spray, just 'remember the Aerogard' lads and 'ave a good weekend'.



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