Time to clone Richard Pandia for the sake of Jets
SEVENTEEN Richard Pandias would be more than handy.
And if Ipswich are to make the Intrust Super Cup finals this year each and every Jet will need to play with the impact of the PNG powerhouse winger.
Pandia was brilliant in the Jets heartbreaking 24-20 loss to Easts Tigers on Sunday, a defeat which means they are four points outside the top six and need to win all remaining five games.
That starts against the Townsville Blackhawks on Saturday night in Winton, a Country Week clash against the Jets arch rivals that they simply must win. Jets co-coach Shane Walker said those chances would be enhanced if all and sundry played like Pandia.
"In the 2015 grand final he made 30 hit-ups in the game and on the weekend, in a game that had a number of NRL players in it, he was far and away the best on the field," Walker said.
"At one point he got a ball passed to him and he slipped and was down on one knee, and his elbows were almost on the ground. He had 110 kilo-Robbie Rochow jump on his back, but Richard rose to his feet and threw him off like an old fur coat and charged ahead.
"If we had 17 Richard Pandias we would make an instant submission to enter the NRL."
The Jets know the Blackhawks style back to front and beat them in the 2015 Intrust Super Cup grand final.
Ipswich play a form of 'contract football' employed by Duncan Thompson who coached Toowoomba, the Walker brothers home town, to great success with an expansive style.
The Blackhawks play a more straight up and down method, but it works for them.
"There is no love lost between both clubs, being former grand final combatants," Walker said.
"Even though they are only a relatively new team there is already a rich history of fierce competitiveness."
Ipswich didn't get the rub of the green against Easts but Walker said there was a lot to like about the performance.
"It was a really high quality game of footy and you can't win them all, but we are now in a position where we do have to win them all," Walker said.