Fleet-footed fullback ends his 'crazy' run
IT was no co-incidence that when Jets speedster Michael Purcell turned on the afterburners, Ipswich broke through for their first win of the Intrust Super Cup season.
Thankfully, getting on the try-scoring board for 2019 also eased his torment.
Purcell's first two tries of the season came either side of halftime, sealing Ipswich's 28-16 victory over Northern Pride on Saturday afternoon.
The fullback's first try was a beauty, accepting a high ball caught by hooker Jayden Connors passed to Purcell who dashed to the line to put Ipswich up 20-0.
In his fourth season with the Jets, the popularly named "Kangaroo Catcher'' showcased his individual brilliance after the break.
Capitalising on some fine lead-up play, he weaved and zigzagged through the Pride defence to consolidate Ipswich's 26-0 advantage.
After a subdued start to the 2019 season, regular try scorer Purcell admitted he was having doubts where the next four-pointer would come from.
"I thought I was going crazy in my head because I hadn't scored any yet,'' he said.
"I definitely had a quiet start to the season.
"I think it was the same with everyone, just getting that form and now I realise I need to inject myself more into the game and I'm working on that every week.
"It was good to get a couple of tries.''
But while grinning from ear to ear after the game reflecting on his reward, the spirited Jet praised his team for stepping up a proverbial gear to put a dramatic halt to their rare losing streak.
"It was definitely a relief,'' Purcell, 25, said.
"I think we went into the game really carrying on from where we left last off week in the second half (only going down 32-30 to Easts).
"I think we did a really good job coming out from the kick- off (on Saturday) and really applied the pressure early.''
Ipswich-born Purcell said the improved Jets performance showed the team was back heading in the right direction "doing what it does best''.
"It's just our combinations and working together,'' he said.
"Things are starting to work out really well and we're playing off one another.''
And when the fearless Jets backline fires like it did in Saturday's slippery conditions, it is a terrific sight.
Despite the greasy conditions, Purcell was pleased how the team handled the ball and spread it more quickly than in previous games.
"It's one of the one-percenters we had to work on,'' the Jets speedster said.
Still enjoying his footy, Purcell hopes the Jets continue producing the exciting brand of play the team has become renowned for.
"I'm definitely enjoying it,'' he said.
"I'm always happy to play how we play and it's really exciting being here.''
Purcell was thrilled to see Walker brothers Ben and Shane enjoy victory in their 200th Intrust Super Cup game for the Jets.
"It was definitely a great milestone and we got our championship (with the Walker brothers in 2015),'' Purcell said.
"To be a part of it is great. I'm privileged to play here.''