Jets message to anxious fans: Come and enjoy
JETS co-coach Ben Walker has a simple message for fans anxious to see Ipswich secure their first victory of the 2019 Intrust Super Cup season.
"Come and enjoy it. You'll get a good show if you turn up,'' he said, preparing to tackle competition frontrunners Easts at the North Ipswich Reserve tonight.
Although the Jets have conceded what many people might say is a worrying 76 points in their first two matches, Walker was far from concerned.
"We are a team that can put on a lot of points,'' Walker said.
"We've actually played fairly well without winning.''
While that may sound a bit strange after Ipswich's early losses to the Blackhawks (34-6) and Burleigh Bears (42-8), Walker is a coach who knows rugby league inside out.
"We'll be playing a similar style and similar way and we're not that far off winning,'' he said.
"We're a team that can put a lot of wins together once we get them so we're not panicking in the fact that we haven't won one or two games. That's not an issue.''
Walker said although the Jets had reviewed their defensive issues this week, he had faith Ipswich's attack would soon regain its reputation as one of the most feared in the state competition.
"On the flip side, if you score a lot of tries you don't need to worry about defending as much,'' he said.
"So maybe our attack wasn't as good either.
"Our attack is still pretty good. We're just half a yard off where we need to be there, that's all.''
Having to face three of the Queensland Cup's most accomplished sides so early in the season is something Walker believes may help the Jets in the longer term.
"It doesn't get any easier but that's okay,'' he said.
"We don't mind it that way. Every game is hard and you have to prepare well. And if you prepare well, you normally play well.
"If you ask Easts whether they'd like to play us this weekend, the answer would probably be 'no' as well.
"I'd rather be playing Easts than Easts playing us, that's for sure.''
In a team change, Walker said interchange player Rowan Winterfield was being rested as a precaution after receiving a head knock against Burleigh last weekend. Winterfield only played 20 minutes against the Bears before coming off.
Walker was heartened by the performance of captain Nat Neale in last weekend's loss. Neale was awarded his first players' player award of the season after 12 hit-ups in a committed 80 minute effort.
Walker said Ipswich's new halves combination of returning five-eighth Josh Cleeland and new halfback Julian Christian needed time to gel.
"They have never played together so you can't expect them to completely dominate straight away in one game,'' he said. "But I know they'll be much better this weekend.
"They'll be much improved this week those two, and I'm looking forward to seeing them play.''
Walker expects to face an Easts side laden with Storm NRL players.
However, rugby league fanatic Walker welcomes that opportunity.
"Losing two in a row is more exciting at training than it is when you win two in a row,'' he said. "It's a different challenge and it throws obstacles up that we like to overcome. When you do, you come out the other end a lot better off.''
Rd 3 Intrust Super Cup: Tonight (6pm) - Ipswich Jets v Easts Tigers at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Ipswich Jets: 1. Michael Purcell, 2. Marmin Barba, 3. Rory Humphrey, 4. Isimeeli Hafoka, 5. Richard Pandia, 6. Josh Cleeland, 7. Julian Christian, 8. Tyson Lofipo, 9. Jayden Connors, 10. Nat Neale (c), 17. Billy McConnachie, 12. Ben White, 13. Ben Shea, 15. Kierran Moseley, 16. Fakahoho Teutau, 19. Mitch Carpenter, 21. Peter Gubb.
Co-coaches: Ben Walker and Shane Walker.
Easts Tigers: 1. Matt Cooper, 2. Tom Hughes, 4. Cheyse Blair, 3. Shane Neumann, 5 Curtis Dansey Smaller, 6. Rhys Jacks, 7. Josh Ralph, 8. Brett Grienke, 9. Aaron Booth, 10. John Puna, 11. Jake Foster, 12. Jarrd Tuite, 13. Bennett Leslie, 14. Sam Foster, 15. Sam Lavea, 16. Kelma Tuilagi, 17. Tyrone Amey, 18. Heath Wilson.
Coach: Scott Sipple.