Brothers captain Jack Boettcher surges through the defence in his team's 18-all weekend draw with Swifts.
Brothers captain Jack Boettcher surges through the defence in his team's 18-all weekend draw with Swifts. David Nielsen

Teams jockey for positions as rugby league finals approach

IF YOU sniff the Ipswich air in the afternoon this weekend you will catch a faint whiff and it is only going to get stronger.

It is the smell of rugby league finals, which begin in three weeks time.

The Ipswich Jets look set to head into the Queensland Cup finals in third position while the club's Reserve grade team remains in contention for the Brisbane Rugby League minor premiership.

The Jets travel to Charters Towers this weekend to take on ladder leaders Townsville Blackhawks.

It is likely to be the final week they are without captain Keiron Lander as he recovers from a broken hand.

Lander is having x-rays today to determine whether he can have the wire removed from his hand.

If all goes well Lander expects to return the following round against Tweed Heads.

The Jets were unlucky in their loss to equal top placed PNG Hunters on Saturday.

Two tries that looked fair to most observers were called back for forward passes while the Jets defence only concede two line-breaks, despite the visitors having a mountain of possession.

But Lander knows it is wins, not hard luck stories, which count at this time of year.

"You always want to win," Lander said. "Anyone who says they are not crucial is kidding themselves. I don't think we're far off. PNG played really well."

In the Ipswich Rugby League there is a two-way race for the minor premiership between defending champions Norths and Goodna, with the two teams to meet at Keith Sternberg Oval (North Ipswich) on Sunday.

The other two finals positions will be filled by West End, for the first time in six years, and Brothers, who ended Swifts' finals hopes with their 18-all draw last weekend.