Ipswich Jet Seb Pandia (with ball) can’t wait to return to the Intrust Super Cup after nearly 1000 days away. Picture: AAP/Image Sarah Marshall
Ipswich Jet Seb Pandia (with ball) can’t wait to return to the Intrust Super Cup after nearly 1000 days away. Picture: AAP/Image Sarah Marshall

Jets last chance to finetune at home before Qld Cup fire up


Michael Nunn

THE Ipswich Jets have come back from the Sunshine Coast to prepare for a home trial against the Souths Logan Magpies on Saturday.

This will be the Jets last trial game with the cancellation of the Jets v Hunters next week due to quarantine issues with the Hunters.

The Jets Intrust Super Cup team lost 42-8 to the Falcons but coach Keiron Lander took positives from the trip to the Coast.

"Our first half was very good. I was very happy with the first 40 minutes," Lander said.

"I didn't make an interchange for the first half so the players out there got a good run.

"Tyson Lofipo thought I had forgotten about him out there.

"This week against Souths will be our last trial so it will just be fine tuning and getting some players a run before round one."

Ipswich Jet Tyson Lofipo. Picture: Rob Williams
Ipswich Jet Tyson Lofipo. Picture: Rob Williams

The Colts came away with a high scoring 30 all draw but coach Chris Ash is excited for his team's development.

"The score doesn't bother me too much,'' he said. "They are really coming together nicely and complementing each other as a team.

"Six tries is a good outcome. We let in six but I think when we watch the video it will show that they are all fixable areas."

The Colts will play the Magpies in another chance to get closer to the round one team that Ash would like to see.

"I played 30 players against the Coast so this week against Souths will be down a bit to 25,'' Ash said.

In the Mal Meninga competition, the Jets had their only win of the night 24-8.

Coach Michael Armstrong is confident the Jets are moving in the right direction.

"We had some really strong performances, our forwards were really good,'' he said.

"Ethan Tronc, Samson Sauaso, Josiah Pahulu, Kulikefu Finefeuiaki and Will Sullivan all did an excellent job."

The Mal Meninga side will have a week off before taking on the Tweed Seagulls in round one.

In Cyril Connell Challenge, the Jets came away with the reversal of the Mal Meninga boys and lost 24-8.

Jets coach Jye Tuaiamau-Gadsdon has some things he would like to work on before their round one clash against Tweed.

"We did a lot of work coming out of our end of the ground. We made things really hard," Tuaiamau-Gadsdon said.

"We need to work on our exit sets and just making sure we are playing football at the right end. We don't want mistakes coming out of our territory.

"That's my focus before we face the Tweed."

Seb's setback, eager to return

IT was Round 18, 2018 - Jets v Townsville in Townsville. The game was 953 days ago. Keep that in mind.

Townsville centre Justin O'Neill was bringing the ball out of his own end when Jets wrecking ball Seb Pandia lined him up for a shot.

O'Neill stepped Pandia, hit his knee against the Origin player's knee and felt his ACL straight away.

Pandia has not played since that night - 953 days without adding to his 58 games for the Jets.

"It's a long time isn't it? I can't wait to get back playing for the Jets," Pandia said.

"I am working hard and fit as I ever was before.''

It may not be round one that Pandia is back. He thinks by round four he will be appearing on a Jets team sheet.

"I had to put off the operation because I had to still be able to work,'' he said.

"I do a physical job so I could still work and then I had the operation and then last year no one played so that's another 12 months I have had off.

"My meniscus was damaged too so I got that fixed. It's pretty much a new knee."

Pandia tackled boredom while he was recovering and maybe did not do it the best way.

"I was out hobbling around because I was so tired of being at home and I ran into some mates who said they were going ice skating.

"I thought maybe I could do that and gave it a try,'' he said

"Well (Jets chairman) Steve Johnson and (coaches) Ben and Shane Walker found out and I got in a bit of trouble for ice skating while recovering."

Pandia was outstanding for the Jets in 2018. He was leading the Allan Langer Medal count when he did his knee and still ended up only losing by two votes to eventual winner Nat Neale.

Pandia still managed to win the Jets forward of the year playing 17 games and breaking a He

He is confident his 2018 form can be replicated in 2021.

"It is a massive year for me. I want to prove I can still play good football and it is a World Cup year I want to play for the Kumuls in England."

The World Cup is 243 days away. That should be easy for a person that has waited nearly 1000 to play football again.

NRL trials

THE Jets have had plenty of involvement across the NRL trials last week.

Jets Blake Lenehan and Tyler Coburn got to travel to Newcastle and play for the Knights in their 20-4 win over the Cessnock Goannas at the Cessnock Sports Ground.

"It was a great experience and Newcastle were really good to us," Lenehan said.

"We were pretty excited when we found out and then got down there for Saturday night and we played about 25 minutes off the bench.

"Now it's up to us to bring what we have learnt back to the Jets and use it this year, starting with this week against Souths."

Blake Lenehan and Tyler Coburn enjoying their Newcastle experience.
Blake Lenehan and Tyler Coburn enjoying their Newcastle experience.

Jets lock Tyler Coburn was there beside Lenehan on the night and being a Knight.

"It was a great experience watching the Knights prepare for a game and we got to do their captain's run on Friday,'' Coburn said.

"Pulling on a Knights jumper was pretty special.

"It was my first game since round one last year so that's 12 months. It was great to get a run and now home and play Souths Logan this week.

"Just have to put into practise what we have learnt."

Meanwhile Jets 2019 Mal Meninga player Sam Walker is about to suit up for his first run with the Roosters this week. He's set to play against the Raiders at the club's spiritual old home at Seiffert Oval In Canberra.

It will be Walker's first game since the Australian Schoolboys beat New Zealand 36-20 in September 2019.

"It's been a long time but last year I think I learnt a lot about football and about me," Walker said.

"I understand my game so much better than 12 months ago, when I first came down here.

"I can't wait to play football again; we train so hard here at the Roosters and play games against each other so I feel like I am ready.

"I have put on a little bit of muscle. I am weighing in at nearly 80kg now.

"Mum and dad are coming down to watch and I am pretty excited.

"It's just about getting out there on Saturday and playing well."

Cooper's stat

SEB Pandia's 2018 Intrust Super Cup season: 17 games, 2427 metres, 84 tackle breaks and one try with 39 offloads and 379 tackles.