Jets backed to end worrying Cup trend
FEARLESS Ipswich Jets captain Nat Neale never shirks a massive challenge - even a hostile reception.
That's what the Jets are expecting in the "chook pen'' against Wynnum Manly Seagulls on Saturday.
After leading his side to six wins and six losses in the Intrust Super Cup, Neale admits the Jets have developed an inauspicious habit.
"We have been in a bad habit of winning one and losing one,” he said.
However, the respected skipper hopes his men can rectify the worrying trend against the Seagulls.
Aside from missing winger Rory Humphreys who was knocked out last weekend, the Jets will be at full strength for the clash.
Coming off an impressive 34-20 away win over 10th-placed Mackay, Ipswich will look to keep that momentum going.
"I reckon we'll get the two points,” Neale said.
"There are a few key players we need to watch and if we do that, and stick to our game plan we should get the win.
"They have been playing really good football. But we can beat the the top team.
"We just need everything to go right on the day and it will happen for us.”
Jets co-coach Ben Walker acknowledged Saturday's game would have plenty of intensity.
"They are going really good Wynnum but we enjoy playing over there,” Walker said.
"We always cop plenty from the chook pen. And we always cop plenty from the crowd behind the bench, so it is always exciting to go there and enjoy a bit of banter with them. And the boys are playing some really good football at the moment so we're looking forward to it.
"We're pretty confident that the way we're playing is good enough to get the win.”
Eighth-placed Ipswich have been searching for consistency throughout the first half of the season.
Wynnum have been tracking well, with just two losses. They sit second on the table, two points ahead of the Burleigh Bears and trailing undefeated Sunshine Coast.
Last weekend they recorded their first ever win over the Townsville Blackhawks in the northern centre after six attempts.
Queensland Residents halfback and astute game manager Sam Scarlett will guide the Seagulls around the park and the battle between he and Ipswich halves' ace Josh Cleeland could prove decisive.
If Patrick Carrigan is not running out for the Broncos versus the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday, the Jets will also have to contend with his tireless work ethic.
Getting his chance in the Intrust Super Cup this season after knocking on the door for the past two years is Jets middle forward Timote Paseka.
Hailing from the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa, Paseka began to dream while watching the NRL on the television as a 15-year-old.
That dream of playing in the NRL has brought him all of the way to Ipswich.
Unearthed while playing for the Tongan Residents in a game in Hawaii and recruited to the Jets, Paseka has been a valuable acquisition.
Life was tough growing up on the island and that is reflected in the way this hard man plays football.
"The way he trains, he just tears into people and we couldn't wait to get him out there tearing into people,” Neale said.
"He just runs hard and tackles hard. That's all he really knows.
"He doesn't have much English in him but having him around is really good.
"He is in inspiring kind of guy. He will turn up when you need him to.”
Living at Kalbar, Paseka has been learning everything he can from Jets mentors Ben and Shane Walker and he still holds aspirations of ascending to the game's highest level.
"I love it here,” Paseka said.
"Ben and Shane have helped me a lot with defensive technique and running the right lines.”
He said he does not want to go back to Tonga prematurely and would continue to work hard to progress as far as he could through the grades to make his family proud.
Intrust Super Cup Rd 13: Saturday (5pm) - Ipswich Jets v Wynnum Manly Seagulls at BMD Kougari Oval.