Like Elvis and Wally, Leroy in class of his own
EVERY Intrust Super Cup side needs one. That tireless foot soldier that no matter the weather, location or day will be there.
They will be there for the Colts and give anything for the Intrust Super Cup side. They're the voice you can hear from the sideline the hand shake at the sheds or the pat on the back that players feel as they come from the field of battle exhausted, but loved because he's there.
He's the keeper of memories, stats and heartache long after it has been forgotten by most. He's always there in his jumper and hat, always there.
At the Ipswich Jets, that is Leroy Murray.
Leroy has never played for the Jets but if you were ever going to pick someone from the crowd to play it would be Leroy. That's because you always get the feeling if it meant the difference to the Jets winning Leroy would do it.
If you said tackle him, Leroy would do it.
The dressing room of football sides are the inner sanctum. The area where players can go and wash away pain or drink to success and maybe even cry.
Not just anyone comes into this sacred area. Players are wary of 'Harry hang-on.'
At the Jets, the shed is for staff and players - and Leroy.
It's testament to his support that Leroy is allowed inside, always wearing a jumper a player has given him from previous seasons and always with a handshake and pat on the back for staff and Jets' players.
You know you're a fixture when your absenteeism is noted quickly.
Leroy's absence from a Jets' game is treated like no cake at a birthday party. It is noted by 15 minutes into the Colts that something just doesn't feel right.
Even after the reason of a family wedding or illness has been recorded something is missing from the day. The other mark of having made it is just having a first name - Elvis, Wally and Leroy.
Say the name to any Jets' player and they will nod and know who you're talking about.
Leroy first went to a Jets' game in the old State League Days against Wests. He was at the Jets' first BRL game in 1986 against Brothers.
Since 1986, if Leroy has missed more than a few games then I would be shocked. He's always there.
Leroy's favourite player is Danny Coburn because he was a great clubman.
Of all the qualities for Leroy to admire I am not surprised it's that one that he mentions.
A great clubman loving a great clubman - it makes sense.
The sort of unconditional love that Leroy offers the Jets is the sort that most marriages can only hope for.
Leroy always puts his club first and always supports and encourages no matter what has happened on the field.
Come the Jets next game against Wynnum, Leroy will arrive before the Colts. He'll sit and watch two grades, pat two grades of players on the back as they leave the sheds and when they return.
He'll support and encourage but most of all he'll be there because that's what Leroy does - because they're his Jets.
Assessing the damage
AS I drove home from the Coast on Saturday no amount of Bruce Springsteen or takeaway was fixing my mood.
It was another miserable day out to Pizzey Park.
The Bears started too fast and four tries in the first half on the back of a massive amount of 21 sets gave the Bears too much momentum.
No team could pull that back. It just defies rugby league logic since 1908.
The Jets had eight sets in the first half which meant they were just tackling themselves to a stop.
In the end, the Jets made 27 more tackles than the Bears but it could have been much worse.
The Jets backrow of Zac Hetherington and Tyler Coburn were terrific. They both scored tries which showed they didn't give up but their defence was great.
Hetherington made 31 tackles and didn't miss any while Coburn made 25 with just three missed tackles.
Jets' second rower Coburn was nursing a sore head after the game with eight stitches in his head from a clash with a bear.
"They were rolling through us and we just couldn't stop their momentum once it got started," Coburn said.
"I felt like once we got some ball we started to play some football in the second half but it's getting that momentum to swing that is proving hard.
"We will talk about it on Tuesday and we have Wynnum next who are undefeated so we need to come ready to play against them.
"We need to be comfortable being uncomfortable and at the moment we are not doing that."
The Jets worst nightmare might be about to materialise. Captain and dominate forward Nat Neale has a suspected broken cheek bone courtesy of a stray knee from former Jet Luke Page.
Neale played 46 minutes against the Bears and after the game his eye was already black and swollen. If it is broken it will mean a month out for Neale.
The Jets will travel to Toowoomba to play Wynnum next weekend.
MITCH Brennan FOG # 16: Games 4, tries 3, points 11, line break assists one, run metres 436, line break six, runs 42, tackle busts 24 and tackles 42.