NRL playmaker poses major threat to Jets
THE Ipswich Jets have targeted a danger player on Saturday as they prepare for their three-week stretch at home.
In a strange twist, the Jets and Falcons are both coming off one-point wins. The Jets defeated the Dolphins with a late Sam Caslick field goal and the Falcons beat the Pride with a Ryley Jacks field goal.
The Jets have defeated the Falcons once already this year and that was also by a point in round seven.
The Falcons have only beaten the Jets once in Ipswich since 2010 and that was 34-4 last season. The Jets had won nine in a row against the Falcons in Ipswich before that loss.
Jets co-coach Ben Walker will be warning the Jets about Jacks' dummy and go.
Last season it was Jacks who put on a show and go to break Jets hearts
The Storm half will be back again to test the Jets defence at the Reserve on Saturday.
Jacks has played 12 games for the Storm this year. It will be his sixth for the Falcons on Saturday.
Another Storm trooper that will be in Ipswich to take on the Jets is hooker Harry Grant.
Grant has made 602 tackles this year, enjoying his NRL debut since the Jets and Falcons last clashed. His 16 appearances for the Falcons has brought six tries.
Jets front rower Tyson Lofipo churned forward 160 metres against Redcliffe last weekend.
"Our task is a simple one - compete,'' Lofipo said preparing for Saturday's game.
"We stayed in the contest against the Dolphins and that gave us a chance at the end when the opportunity came to win the game."
MY HUGE Jets play from last weekend's thrilling victory was in the 60th minute.
Redcliffe had the ball on their far right winning 14-10 and it went through the hands to the far left, trying to put Broncos and Redcliffe winger Jonus Pearson in space.
Pearson went through the line and came up against Michael Purcell as the Jets' last line of defence.
"I watched Redcliffe swing it across the field and I thought Wes Conlon would have got him but when he got around Wes I knew I had to cover,'' Purcell said.
"As I got closer I knew if I chased in too hard he would step back inside so I slowed my run up a bit and tried to square myself in case he stepped back inside me.
"I just trotted towards him steering him towards the sideline until he gassed it straight.
"I knew there was no stepping inside me from there so I sprinted and thought in my head I can't go too high or he'll palm and beat me so I aimed for his hip and got my arms around and slid down to the legs and then you want to flip him and put his leg into touch and it paid off."
Barba's top five tries
SPEEDSTER Marmin Barba is now equal with Donald Malone with 67 tries for the Jets.
Barba has scored his 67 from 67 games while "Duck" scored his from 83 games.
With the Jets, having three home games in a row it will be a fair chance that Barba will break the record at home in front of his biggest fans .
To celebrate the record here are my top five Marmin Barba tries.
Number 5: Redcliffe Dolphins at Redcliffe. It was 14-12 to the Jets just before half time when Jets kicked from from a scrum 20 metres out from their line. The ball bounces around for the Dolphins fullback Evan Cummins to pick up and tackled one on one by Barba- Barba steals the ball and runs 10 metres to score under the posts. Brilliant chase and reaction. Great game awareness.
Number 4: Grand final Lang Park. Dane Phillips kicks from the Jets 50 to the left hand corner. Jahome Hughes picks it up and stays in the field but tries to offload as three Jets throw him over the sideline again Marmin reacts and leaps on the bouncing ball. Twenty minutes into a grand final, that's a great chase and commitment.
Number 3: Newcastle Knights at the Olympic stadium. Jets lead 14-6 as halftime approaches. A great tackle results in a loose ball and Rod Griffin turns Marmin under for a run. Barba is through the line and runs the field to score without being touched.
Number 2: Tweed at Ipswich. The Jets were leading 22-16 in the second half when Tweed roll it into the in goal on the left hand side. Marmin picks up the ball with 105 metres to go. He effortlessly steps past one Tweed chaser to get in the field of play, then spots a few lazy slow forwards so heads to the left hand side by now the Tweed kicker has chased gets rid of him and scores. I count seven beaten Seagulls and over 100 metres.
Number 1: Jets v Bears at North Ipswich. Marmin had been in doubt for the game with illness but then proceeded to score two tries. The game started well with Marmin taking a 100 metre intercept so his legs were ticking over nicely when Dane Phillips kicks for Marmin from 30 metre out, Barba covers the ground and he dives to place the ball inch perfect on the deadball line parallel to the ground, rejecting the attention of Bears' winger Siuatonga Likiliki who was powerless to stop Barba. That is the full range of Barba skill, anticipation, speed, game awareness and try.
Barba shared his favourite four-pointer. "The try against Newcastle, it was the biggest stage and on NRL Grand Final day. I was so pumped and once I was in the clear it was just a great feeling,'' he said.
MARMIN Barba made his debut in round two 2014 v the Tweed. He scored on debut since then he has provided Jets fans with endless highlights that will last a lifetime.
Barba's 67 tries for the Jets and seven tries for Tweed places him 27th for try scoring out of the 4000 players that have played Intrust Super Cup.
Teammate Wes Conlon explained why Barba was so good. "Marmin is a player who is born with that natural raw talent,'' Conlon said.
"He is one of the fastest players I've ever seen he can go from a standing start to top speed quickly and he really does live up to his nickname Marvellous Marmin."
Co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker reflected on Marmin's effort in the 2015 decider.
"Never before has someone influenced a grand final more and not got tackled,'' they said.
"Marmim sets up one of the great grand final tries, scores one and makes a break, which set up another two points.
"There is no finer sight than watching Marmin scorching down the left side of Suncorp Stadium at full flight.
"This prodigious talent is one of the Jets' greats."
THE Jets' top five try scorers, from 507 Intrust Super Cup games, are scintillating performers Donald Malone 67, Marmin Barba 67, Ricky Bird 64, Brendon Marshall 59 and Luke Walker 55.
A cold beer with . . .
Ben Ikin was a Bear, Bronco and Seagull. Now he's Fox Sports host on NRL 360 and a QRL board member. We sat down to talk Ipswich and League.
You worked previously at Wynnum at a coaching level. Is getting involved again with an ISC club something you would do? No. I live my coaching life vicariously through Ben and Shane Walker, and even that can be stressful at times.
Do you have a favourite Ipswich league player? Noel Kelly. He was mad.
You played for Toowoomba in 2004 do you have any memories of playing the Jets. I cannot remember playing the Jets but I had a stack of fun that year. I do recall that the grounds were a lot more intimate and you heard all the sledging from the crowd very clearly . . . some of it was intense, but very funny.
The Jets style has been widely critiqued, what are your thoughts? I love it. It is effective and entertaining to watch. I admire how Ben and Shane coach. It takes courage to be innovative, especially in a sport like rugby league where people are quick to tear you down for being different.
Do you have a Jets player you enjoy watching? Billy McConachie. He is mad like Noel Kelly.