Leading roles for Jets in Residents showdown
THE first chance for 2019 to stick it to the Blues is here and two Jets will be taking up the challenge.
Queensland Residents has a rich history from the tour of France in 1989 and the Jets have contributed greatly to the QRL representative team playing at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday.
Nat Neale will be playing for Queensland Residents for the fourth time.
Neale debuted off the bench in 2013 after 54 games for the Jets. He played in 2017 and last year before his latest call-up having played his 136th game for the Jets.
Neale will be keen to erase the disaster of 2018. He is one of only two players to survive the 2018 36-20 loss to NSW.
Neale played 61 minutes and made 49 tackles in a game where Queensland were starved of possession.
NSW had seven more sets than Queensland in the first 40 minutes and got off to a flyer leading 30-0 at the break.
I spoke to Neale in Queensland camp about what had to change in 2019 and what his expectations were for the week.
"It's always hard in rep camps to come together,'' Neale said. "We were a tight unit in 2017 but last year it was a bit harder and the results were very different.
"Camp is great for meeting guys. When you play against them you might think I don't like that guy at all but then you spend a week with them and realise they're really good guys."
While Neale is a Queensland veteran, Jets teammate Josh Cleeland will be playing his first game for Residents.
Cleeland has played 59 games for the Jets and will finally get his first Maroon jumper on Sunday.
"I am so excited to play for Queensland. I have only ever made Diggers teams in the past so this is my first representative selection,'' Cleeland said.
Cleeland was unsure if he would be able to help his new Queensland teammates on any secret information from his time in Sydney.
"I am not too sure if I will be able to offer any insight in to the Blues,'' he said. "See what team they name and if I know them at all."
CURRENT South Sydney assistant coach Jason Demetriou was the Queensland Residents coach in 2014 when Queensland won 24-16 at Lang Park before Origin 3.
I spoke to Demetriou about how he picked Jets captain Keiron Lander, the last Jet to lead Queensland.
"We got in to camp and it was clear to me very early the leader Lander was in the group,'' Demetriou said.
"He was liked and he had a voice in the group.
"Rep coaching is very different to club coaching. You have to bring people together and give them a common cause and effort. Lander was terrific at that for us.
"Sometimes you can even be dealing with guys that don't like each other. It's all about bringing everyone in. That's Lander's skill."
Fond 1989 tour memories
IT has been 30 years since the the Queensland Residents headed to France for a four-match tour.
The Residents won all four games, scoring 99 points to 22 against the French sides.
Player of the tournament was Jet Darren Wolens.
"I still have my Dick Tosser Turner award here at home. It's very special to me,'' Wolens said, having fond memories of his two weeks in France.
"It was a great culture shock, and we got to see so many things that a lot of guys might not have got to see like the Eiffel Tower.
"When we got there they had us staying in these unpainted horrible university dorms and Ross Livermore and Tosser Turner got us out of there and to a nice hotel.
"The tour was dominated by Valleys and Ipswich guys because we played in the two grand finals in a row. You got to know guys that you wouldn't have spent too much time with really. It's life-long memories."
Jet Craig Spark also shared some French touring memories.
"It was a great year,'' Spark said. "I played Queensland Under 21, Jets made the grand final and then a trip to France.
"We had such a great group of guys. Kevin Langer jumped in to the ring with a bull which probably wasn't too safe looking back.
"We got to see all the landmarks around Paris and play some football. I do remember the French tackling area was between your shoulders and head a lot of the time."
Ipswich contributed Ray Ovens, Ken Robertson, Steve Parcell, Craig Spark, Sam Smith and Darren Wolens to the tour.
CQ big play
THE Jets dominated the Capras with 55% of the ball and 19 more runs.
The Jets made 17 more tackle breaks. Two of them were made by Nat Neale in his 20-metre run to score.
The ball comes to the Jets' right hand side and Neale is standing outside Kierran Moseley, who passes him the ball with two Capras to beat.
Neale was exceptional for the Jets playing the whole 80 minutes. He scored a try, made 12 runs, ran 128 metres and produced 23 tackles with three tackle breaks.
Neale took me through the movement and try.
"Marmin made the break down the left and I was coming back through the middle,'' Neale said. "The ball came out to the right so I started going that way.
"It's got to Josh Cleeland and then Kierran Moseley so I just stayed there. I still had a centre and wing outside me.
"Once I had the ball it was just about beating those two defenders and keep going."
Remember that Jet?
IT'S 2002 and the Jets are up against it. Norths, with Cam Smith, Cooper Cronk, and Billy Slater, are streaming through the Jets and looking grand final ready.
Enter one Brian McCarthy who scored two tries and played a massive role in getting the Jets through to the next week against the Dolphins.
McCarthy would play 121 games for the Jets and score 30 tries but none more important than that double.
McCarthy debuted for the Jets in 1999 and has played the eighth most games for the Jets.
"I was on the bench with about 15 to go and Norths were in front,'' McCarthy said. "Gary Grienke threw myself and Reggie Cressbook on the field and I was warming up and an and bit me on the head.
"I told Reggie and he said that is good luck, we will win now. I went on and scored two tries and Reggie kicked three goals and a field goal for us to win by three.
"It was such a great time at the Jets. I had been to Wests to see what they could offer in 1999 and then went out to Ipswich and signed with the Jets. Craig Teevan sold it to me.
"We just all got on. No egos. Danny McAllister was my best mate and I still talk to him every day. Even though he gave me plenty of passes that nearly got me killed on the field.
"When Gilly took over as coach he'd laugh at you getting a walloping on the field.
"Ricky Bird was the best player I played with. He made me look good, simple as that. Just run and he'd hit you with a pass."
CONGRATULATIONS to Jets' Intrust Super Cup manager Wade Glass and his partner Melissa, who got married last weekend at the Coast.
Enjoy the trip away.
Mother's Day thanks
SUNDAY is Mother's Day, a great occasion for the Jets to pay a special tribute to the great women in their lives.
I spoke to a few Jets to see how they would be spending their Mother's Day.
Huskie Teutau: "I am going to New Zealand this weekend so I will be spending the day with my mum."
Julian Christian: "Just be resting up after the physical game on the weekend and spending the day with my partner and daughter and might shout my mother a flight down here to join us."
Ben Shea: "Unfortunately, I will not get to see my mother as she lives south, so I will be making a phone call to her and helping my two kids spoil their mother up here. Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there."
Rory Humphreys: "I will be going out to breakfast with mum and the family. Hoping for some decent weather to hit the beach after it. Happy Mother's Day to the greatest mum! I do not say it enough, but I really appreciate all that you do for me."
THE Jets start games quickly. They have scored 10 tries this year in the first 20 minutes out of 15 first half tries that is 66%.
Of the Jets 28 tries in total, that's 35% scored in the first 20 minutes.
A cold beer with . . .
The last Jet to captain Queensland Residents was Keiron Lander, who led the team in 2014. I pulled up to the bar and spoke about Queensland and captaincy.
What are your memories of Queensland's 24-16 win in 2014? It was a great week. We stayed at the Royal Pines, played golf and had short sharp sessions. I remember Javin Bowen playing a fantastic game. He scored a try off a kick and ran 50 metres. It was great memories.
Is the role of a captain in a rep team different to captaining a club team? I think they have a few things to think about. Do they want a half that is on the ball for the game, or do they want a leader who just does it and maybe doesn't talk too much. It is not different to a club team. You just do not have long to bring everyone together and get everyone ready.
What will Nat Neale and Josh Cleeland bring to the Queensland team? Nat can play 80 minutes and will do the job well. He will not talk too much but he will lead. Josh will be around the ball and take his chances.
What does Queensland have to do to turn around the result from last year? You have to start well against rep quality players. You cannot ease in to games. NSW were so far in front that they just had to maintain that and score one try and they were home.
Would you rather see the Residents played before Origin or as a standalone game? Always before Origin. For many people this would be their only time to play at Lang Park on Origin night in front of a big crowd. I wanted to make the Queensland team to play before Origin and at Lang Park. What an experience. My girlfriend, now wife, was there and my uncle flew in to watch. Just a great highlight.