Battle of minds in Jets-PNG duel
FRIDAY night football comes to Ipswich this week.
The Jets play the PNG Hunters for the second time this year having lost 22-12 in round one.
The Jets and Hunters have clashed 10 times. The Hunters lead seven to three.
Ipswich's three wins have come at North Ipswich and Wynnum in the 2015 finals.
The Jets had wins over the Hunters at North Ipswich in 2014 and 2016.
In 2014, the Jets came up trumps 25-12 and in 2016 the Jets won 30-12.
The Hunters have beaten the Jets the past four times.
Two Jets that take the game against the Hunters personally are Sebatian and Richard Pandia.
Sebastian played 21 games for the Hunters so understands the PNG side.
"It's more of a mindset battle I think,'' Sebastian said.
"We know they are a physical side and win most of their games through their physicality and the support of their PNG supporters.
"Even when they are trailing on the scoreboard, it takes one good hit or a try to spark them up and with the crowd cheering and rallying them, they believe they are unstoppable.''
Pandia said matching the Hunters' physicality was a priority. "We just have to contain them for the first 15-20 minutes until they allow us to play our game by them making errors in their own half and us playing our Ipswich style of footy,'' he said.
"Making them work hard in defence, getting repeat sets when we don't score at their end and being patient when we attack."
The Jets are coming off their third loss in a row while the Hunters have won four of their past five.
The Hunters' form away from home is not great this year having won one from six games.
The Hunters have been patchy this year and on a cold night in Ipswich, this is real chance for the Jets to launch the second half of their season.
Against the Seagulls, Ben Shea was tremendous for the Jets. He won the Players' Player accolade with two tries and 193 metres of Seagull-trampling running.
The "Kangaroo Catcher'' Michael Purcell has been cleared to play and will take on the Hunters.
He has been missed and everyone will be keen to see him add to his five tries this year.
If Purcell has a massive game, he could force himself into the Queensland Residents team.
THE Hunters coming to town always creates a great atmosphere.
The Jets have their annual Harmony Day tonight.
The Jets will have over 20 different stalls with traditional PNG food and entertainment. There is free jumping castle, canteen and can bar facilities all night.
An under 15 game between Norths Tigers and Karalee is the curtain raiser, kicking off at 5.40pm.
The Jets' only Friday night game this season will be a huge cultural event.
"The Ipswich Jets' Harmony Day is a wonderful way for the club to engage with the multicultural community and use rugby league as a tool to connect our communities,'' Jets CEO Jason Cubit said.
"It is traditionally our largest crowd of the year and we expect that again especially given the Friday night timeslot against the PNG Hunters to kick-off Ipswich Cup weekend.''
SINCE 1980, the Confraternity Rugby League Carnival has attracted schools from around the state. This year in Charters Towers, 50 schools will participate.
This week Jet number 453 and St Edmunds old boy Tyson Lofipo was asked to hand out the jumpers to the school's Confraternity team before they travel to Charters Towers.
Tyson has played the second most game for the Jets with 172 and the 36th most games in the Intrust Super Cup.
"It's a massive honour and privilege to be even thought of to come and present these future stars with their jumpers,'' Lofipo said.
HERE'S my Queensland Residents team to take on NSW Residents before the second State of Origin game in Sydney: Scott Drinkwater (Easts), Jonus Pearson (Dolphins), Marion Seve (Souths), Johnny Faletagoa'I (Mackay), Jonathon Reuben (Townsville), Billy Walters (Easts), Jake Clifford (Pride), Nat Neale (Jets), Pat Politoni (Bears), Patrick Carrigan (Wynnum), Blake Leary (Bears), Ben Shea (Jets), Sam Anderson (Dolphins), Mitchell Frei (Wynnum), George Fai (Souths), Matt White (Bears), Todd Murphy (Norths).
I asked Queensland coach Jon Buchanan to have a look at my selections and give me some feedback on my potential selector's career.
"You have about nine or 10 right, it's not a bad team you've picked,'' Buchanan said.
Alf's best Origin moments
IN Game one 1988, I was only in grade four but it was the first series I really watched. I loved Allan Langer. He was from the same city and he was a bit on the small side like me. If only he had red hair. I re-watched the game to find Alf's best Origin moments.
It was the first time Queensland played an Origin game minus their King "Wally'' Lewis and coach Wayne Bennett gave the treasured number six to Peter Jackson.
I spoke to Wayne Bennett about why he arrived at Jackson.
"I chose Peter Jackson because he was an extrovert and I knew he would not lack in confidence,'' Bennett said. "I was right. He did a great job and we had a great win."
How did you think no Wally would affect Alf? "I did not think it would affect him at all,'' Bennett said. "I was more concerned that this was the first Origin game Wally missed."
The game starts with a near empty Sydney Football Stadium. Darrell Eastlake is going on about the ridiculous $34 ticket price. I wonder what he would say about the $200 we pay today.
Paul Vautin's first act as captain is to kick from dummy half on the fifth. It was a bold move. "Grasshopper'' (the referee) finds a penalty and Gary Belcher take the two points.
Alf comes into the game on the fifth with a little kick ahead, comes out the other side and kicks it again but in the scramble for the ball, it goes loose. Bob Lindner got in his way.
Alf goes the short kick again. It's a dud bounce and could not get it back.
Do you think New South Wales are noticing a pattern with Alf yet?
Gene Miles tries to offload and drops it, from the scrum the ball comes out Queensland and Alf is off for the corner before anyone can react stepping past Peter Sterling on the way. That is Alf's first try in Origin.
Just before halftime, it's a bit of scrappy play and Alf takes the ball at first receiver, kicks ahead between two tired forwards. He bends down to pick it up and just decides to kick ahead and kicks it again. Now it's a race with Blues' fullback Jonathan Docking and Alf wins.
It was Alf's second Origin try and his second man-of-the match-in his fourth game. Queensland won 26-18.
"I cannot remember much about the game expect Peter Jackson played really well and we won when everybody wrote us off because Wally was not playing,'' Bennett said. "We won that series three nil."
THE Women's State of Origin is played at North Sydney Oval on June 22. Just like the first men's Origi,n it's a one off game with everything on the line.
The Queensland team will have six debutants and Ipswich star Ali Brigginshaw. The Queensland coach is Jet number 187 Jason Hetherington.
"I am very excited,'' Hetherington said.
"It's a massive game, live on Nine. The girls are going to be in front of a big audience and they're going to show everyone what they can do."
You have Alf and Trevor Gillmeister in camp too, how many Jets do you need? "Can never have too many mate,'' Hetherington said.
IN five of the 10 Jets v Hunters games, the losing team has scored 12 points. That includes the Jets' only three wins against the Hunters.
Check out this. 2014: Jets 25-12. 2015: Jets 28-12. 2016: Jets 30-12. 2017: Hunters 32-12. 2018: Hunters 22-12.