Conlon's confidence in new combinations
THE FAST feet of Ipswich Jets winger Wes Conlon were on full display against the Townsville Blackhawks on Saturday.
The veteran had 12 individual points at North Ipswich Reserve, crossing the line to open the scoring before later converting two tries and two penalty goals.
But the emergence of surrounding talent has even the fleet-footed Conlon "checking” his speed.
"There's a lot of speed in this team, I've got to check my own speed now you know,” he said with a laugh post-match.
Conlon's opposite winger Marmin Barba crossed for the hosts' second try on his return to the Jets after nearly two years out.
"(Barba) brings this energy, his presence kicks everyone up and we all feed off that,” Conlon said.
Fullback Michael Purcell showcased his blistering speed, both on kick returns and in play.
He saved a near-certain Blackhawks try by chasing down a breakaway winger early in the second half.
Purcell and Barba are known commodities to Ipswich fans, but it is the Jets' new number six who Conlon believes will get fans out of their seats this year.
"I said it at the start of the year and I'll keep saying it, Julian Christian in his first year is just killing it,” Conlon said.
"I've got high hopes for him, I hope he goes really well this year.
"I back him to get our MVP for the year, if he keeps going.”
Conlon's praise for the former Blackhawks player was not unfounded.
Christian's grubber into the in-goal set-up Conlon to open the scoring for the Jets, and the youngster's darting plays around the ruck caused the visitors all sorts of headaches.
"I'm really happy, our combinations are starting to stick,” Conlon said.
"Last week, it was our first game and we didn't really know how others played. Now it's gluing, and there's still so much more improvement to come.”
Conlon said there was still "a lot to improve on”, but he was happy with the blueprint the home side used to take the win.
"The boys in the middle there, the forwards really laid the platform for us,” he said.
"I thought we really stretched them in the middle. Last week we were really tight, but this week it worked.
"We stretched them in the middle, and then our little men ripped them up the guts.”
Conlon's 12 points against the Blackhawks put him into equal third on the point-scoring table after two rounds - 10 points behind former Jet and current Blackhawks fullback Carlin Anderson.
Conlon shared a wry smile when asked if he enjoyed getting the win over his old teammate.
"It's a little like, yes, you're my mate and you're my brother, but when you play on that other side, you're just one of the others,” he said.
"Once you play against us, you're not a brother.”
Anderson's return to Ipswich did not go as he would have liked.
He also copped a stray knee from Conlon as the two pounced on a loose ball in the Jets' in-goal in the first half.
"I didn't think he'd grounded it,” Conlon said of the accidental clash.
"I went for the try, but I got into him because I couldn't get to the ball.”