Ipswich Jets coach Keiron Lander reflects on a testing period for the Intrust Super Cup club. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich Jets coach Keiron Lander reflects on a testing period for the Intrust Super Cup club. Picture: David Lems

Tough break: Time for Jets to refresh, remain calm, refocus

IT'S easy to become down and let the tough sporting situation get the better of you.

After watching his team give up 24 first half points and lose 34-12, Ipswich Jets coach Keiron Lander was clearly frustrated and hurting this morning.

While the Jets produced another spirited second half comeback against the Burleigh Bears, it was a similar story to earlier games in this year's Intrust Super Cup season.

One win from seven matches generates more questions than answers, especially with the Jets facing competition leaders Wynnum Manly in their next encounter.

However, Lander is hanging tough, determined to get the best out of a team he has shown tremendous faith in.

"You can just tell the boys are trying,'' he said.

"We need 17 blokes to be on every week and at the moment it's one or two that aren't. And they are not big things like someone not pushing up or someone not turning out when they should be starting square.

"I've just got to keep working with the team I've got because I know that they are a fantastic team and they can play football.

"When it clicks, it will click and I've just got to be patient and keep educating them on their roles and how to play the game.''

Lander will assess his team's performance at training on Tuesday night before giving his players Thursday night off heading into a split round weekend with no Jets game.

Ipswich's next match is against Wynnum Manly in Toowoomba on May 30.

"We'll let the boys freshen up. It's been a challenging seven, eight weeks,'' Lander said.

"Stop-start too doesn't help.

"You get a game, you start building and then you have a week off.''

Having already watched back the video from Saturday's loss at Pizzey Park, Lander knows his team didn't do much wrong early before some mistakes allowed Burleigh to gain the ascendancy.

"We're just not getting those breaks,'' he said, referring to some positive Jets attacking moves being shut down for various reasons.

"And that can dent your confidence when you are trying those things and the self-doubt creeps in.

"That first half just wasn't good enough.

"I could feel that things weren't going well for a couple of our boys. They were looking quite lethargic and unfortunately that led to a couple of tries.''

VALUABLE INSIGHTS: Jets legend shares his thoughts

Fullback Jayden Connors also needed a head injury assessment (HIA), which didn't help the Jets under pressure.

Lander was concerned about his captain Nat Neale receiving a nasty knock to the face and playmaker Josh Cleeland hobbling off the field.

Ipswich Jets captain Nat Neale powers ahead during his team's recent Intrust Super Cup match against the Tweed Heads Seagulls at the North Ipswich Reserve. Picture: Jorja Brinums/QRL
Ipswich Jets captain Nat Neale powers ahead during his team's recent Intrust Super Cup match against the Tweed Heads Seagulls at the North Ipswich Reserve. Picture: Jorja Brinums/QRL

However, as smart coaches do, Lander was looking to build on the positives.

They include a gritty effort by Ono So'Oialo and second half tries by exciting prospects Tyler Coburn and Zac Hetherington.

"They were sensational - Zac and Tyler,'' Lander said. "They really worked hard.''

Coburn crossed for his second try in two weeks on the back of halfback Julian Christian throwing a beautiful pass.

As the Jets second row lifted, Hetherington scored his first Intrust Super Cup try on the right edge to reduce the deficit to 34-8.

Richie Pandia scored the Jets final try, his third for the season.

On a tough afternoon at the Gold Coast, Todd White provided additional energy coming off the bench.

The Jets hadn't won at Burleigh's home base since 2013.

"Burleigh are a good side,'' Lander said.

"They have always been strong. They are well coached.

"Rick Stone has coached at the highest level and he brings a really calm nature and you could just tell that his players are finding what he wanted them to do.''

Keeping calm is something the Jets also need to do now as they move forward.

Lander is keen to welcome back Blake Lenehan for the next match.

Recently concussed Hugh Sedger is also on the comeback trail, being held back against Burleigh.

"Health and safety is more important to me than a game of football,'' the coach said.

"Two those will add a bit of steel to our defence.''

Ipswich Jets stalwart Tyson Lofipo.
Ipswich Jets stalwart Tyson Lofipo.

Saturday's game was the 200th appearance for Jets stalwart Tyson Lofipo.

"The boys and family made a little video for him,'' Lander said.

"We said some really kind things about a bloke that has been at the club for 15 years and wears his heart on his sleeve.

"We're grateful for having him play and set quite a good standard for the young fellas coming through.''