USQ Ipswich Jets netballers leave the court after their recent Sapphire Series preliminary final win over Thunder. The Jets finished the season runners-up after Saturday night’s grand final loss to Cougars. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media
USQ Ipswich Jets netballers leave the court after their recent Sapphire Series preliminary final win over Thunder. The Jets finished the season runners-up after Saturday night’s grand final loss to Cougars. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media

Retiring Jet plays on for Qld, eager for better life balance

HAVING retired from Sapphire Series netball, Lucy Benjamin ended her USQ Jets career with plenty to ponder.

"It definitely was mixed emotions,'' she said reflecting on the Ipswich team's 14 point loss to Brisbane North Cougars in Saturday night's grand final.

"We were really excited to get to the grand final and it has been such a great season for us.

"We've had so much positive play.

"We felt we deserved to get there.

"We maybe played our grand final in the prelim last week (beating Thunder).

"That was such a tight game for us and we made the grand final.''

However, the Jets were unable to replicate that performance for four quarters in the decider.

"It was very disappointing but at the same time you look at the season and you can't be too disappointed,'' Benjamin said.

"We've got a really great team. ''

Benjamin, 30, was a dependable contributor playing goal attack or goal shooter in her two seasons with the Jets.

Prior to that, she had five seasons for Brisbane West Lions.

Jets netballer Lucy Benjamin played her last game for the club.
Jets netballer Lucy Benjamin played her last game for the club.

While she's standing down from Jets duty, Benjamin will continue to play mixed netball. She's in the Queensland Suns team preparing for the Mixed Nationals scheduled for April in Adelaide.

"That will be fun. I played that a few years ago,'' the accomplished netballer said.

In the meantime, she wants to devote more time to her work with Rowing Queensland and other aspects of her life.

"It's just a step back from the commitment,'' she said.

"The commitment at that high level is incredibly high and when you're working full-time and trying to maintain a career and relationship and everything like that, it's really draining.''

Proud of how long she has played, Benjamin said it was time "to take a bit of time and focus on my life.''

Benjamin said the Cougars were more ready to play at the Queensland State Netball Centre after losing recently to the minor premiership-winning Jets.

Cougars led 34-18 at halftime.

"They definitely came out firing,'' she said.

"At the end of the day, we had no answer for them.

"It was really just the second quarter. The other three quarters we were right with them the whole time. We won the last quarter.

"That second quarter, they just blew us out of the water.''

Having devoted so much to playing for the Jets, Benjamin had to regularly juggle work and training commitments.

With everything getting "pretty much back to normal'' in her outdoor events role, she can now spend more time helping Rowing Queensland.

While she's stepping aside from the Jets, Benjamin has high hopes for the team moving forward.

"I'm incredibly proud of them,'' she said.

"There's some really young girls in that team with so much potential.

"That team is going to grow and grow.''

In the two seasons the Jets have represented Ipswich in higher level netball, a club team has made the grand final.

Last year, the Jets Rubies also reached the decider before similarly finishing runners-up.