‘Tricky’ Jets player eager to defy latest injury scare
AFTER an injury scare the Ipswich Jets didn't need, Jayden "Tricky'' Connors is chasing a milestone.
But thankfully he's not too homesick being in such a supportive Ipswich environment.
Connors only needs two points in Saturday's Intrust Super Cup match against the Capras to join the Jets 100 club.
However, he was in doubt for the latest match after injuring his left ankle in last weekend's 36-14 loss to Easts at the North Ipswich Reserve.
His arrival at Jets training on Thursday night was most welcome as the Ipswich side strives to end a losing streak in Saturday afternoon's game at the North Ipswich Reserve.
"Not now,'' Connors replied, when asked if was on the Jets injury list for this weekend.
"I had a scare on Saturday. I thought I had done my ankle but it's just a bit of cartilage damage so I just got the all-clear to play.''
He feared the worst after his foot got caught on the knee of an Easts player when he made a break.
"It's an old injury plus a new injury so it's just something I can manage for the season,'' he said.
He tested his ankle on Thursday night after updating head coach Keiron Lander on his situation.
"I should be right for Saturday,'' Connors, 25, said.
"If anything else happens to it then we'll assess it then and get more scans.''
Growing up in Inverell in NSW, Connors has showcased his speed playing fullback, in the halves and hooker for the Jets over the past four years.
But with teammates Jordan Carriera and Hugh Sedger having suffered recent concussions, Connors becomes an even more important senior player in the side.
"We've come so close in a few games. We just haven't clicked everything together yet,'' he said.
"Our forwards are good. Just our outside backs are lacking in experience. Getting used to that style of footy is a big thing.''
Former Jets co-coaches Shane and Ben Walker nicknamed Connors after former Australian player Darrell "Tricky'' Trindall.
"Just the way Darrell Trindall played back in the day,'' the Jets footballer said with a wry smile. "They reckon I play similar to him.''
As for his shot at a milestone, Connors took it all in his stride.
"If I was goalkicking, yeah it would be (a major focus) but not really because I'm not goalkicking at the moment,'' he said.
That role has been taken by five-eight Josh Cleeland.
Connors is happy to do more goalkicking if needed.
Connors shared the highlight of his time at the Jets.
"I'm from Inverell in NSW so I'm away from family,'' he said. "And the club is like a family-orientated club and all the boys like Keiron (Lander) get around you and stuff, especially when you are not home or seeing your family.''
After moving north, he played under 20s on the Gold Coast in 2014 and 2015 before returning home for a year.
He made his way to Grafton before Jets chairman Steve Johnson noticed his talents.
"I've been here ever since,'' the versatile footballer said.
"Probably hooker, fullback is my main position at the moment.''
Away from footy, Connors enjoys camping and getting outdoors including fishing.
The apprentice chippie likes working at weekends when he can.
With a young son in Ipswich to keep him active, Connors said that keeps him from becoming too homesick.
"We only go home on special occasions or when something has happened,'' he said.
Connors said one of his new rituals was having an hour's sleep before training on game day.
"Just to freshen up,'' he said.
"I like cleaning on game days. I don't know why. I just like making the room and all the house nice and clean before I head out.''
He also likes country, R&B and a bit of rap music.
"I'm not a fussy eater but probably my favourite is seafood or Chinese food,'' he said.
As for how to stay motivated after four winless performances, Connors said sticking together was the key.
"Just get patient. Get around the boys and they pick you up,'' he said.
"If someone is feeling down or you're feeling down from injury or like bad game, the boys are here to pick you up on Tuesdays and Thursdays (training) and get around each other on Saturdays pretty early.''
Saturday's 2.10pm match is being screened on Kayo.