Cutters loss driving Jets skipper
NAT Neale cut a despondent figure in the dressing sheds after the Ipswich Jets' surprise loss to the Mackay Cutters last weekend.
The skipper's frustration was matched by his teammates and coaches, and Neale believes remembering that feeling will drive the Jets to get back to their best against the Sunshine Coast Falcons today.
"I think we were all really disappointed with our effort last weekend - it should fire us up," Neale said.
"We had a meeting on Tuesday night and discussed how and why we went wrong, and where we need to be better moving forward."
The Falcons have defeated last season's premiers the PNG Hunters and thumped Mackay 32-4 in North Queensland.
But they have also been on the receiving end of heavy defeats to Burleigh and Easts.
They are equal on points with the Jets after six rounds.
Neale sees a lot of similarities between the Jets and today's opponent.
"They've been a bit up and down," he said.
"You can see it with us a bit as well. We've gotten up for the 'big' games, and then been a bit off against other teams (like the Capras and Cutters).
"It'll be a good challenge to see where we're at. They're not going too well at the moment, so I think we should get up over them."
With Richie Pandia and Marmin Barba expected to return in the next few weeks, Neale said competition for spots would help keep the Jets at the top of their game.
"It'll be tough for the coaches to pick a team when everyone is fit," he said.
"It's good. Having competition at training means everyone wants to and needs to play hard to keep their spot."
Although he would not say it himself, the skipper can probably be rest assured of his place in the side each week.
Neale is one of the frontrunners in the Courier Mail Medal - awarded to the Intrust Super Cup's best player.
"I'm going alright, but there's always room for improvement," Neale said, before jokingly adding: "Maybe I'm just being nice to the right people."
ISC Round 7: Today (5pm) - Ipswich Jets v Sunshine Coast Falcons at Sunshine Coast Stadium.