Ipswich Jets footballer Peter Gubb is considered a major danger by the Easts Tigers.
Ipswich Jets footballer Peter Gubb is considered a major danger by the Easts Tigers.

Valuable game day insights as Jets prepare for Tigers


Michael Nunn

IT'S Rivalry Round this week in the Intrust Super Cup and I am not going to try and talk down our competitiveness against the Easts Tigers.

The Tigers are our closest rival, our neighbour, the guy next door.

But the Tigers aren't that good guy next door. They're the neighbour that comes over for a BBQ but brings terrible beer and drinks your Balters.

The Tigers are the neighbour that doesn't bring your bin in when he gets his or collect your mail while you are away.

The Tigers have won 12 or their past 19 against the Jets with one draw. Although it is still a tight contest overall with the Tigers leading 26-22 with one draw.

The Tigers are coming off a massive win over the Bears and have won one game. It was emphatic, scoring nine tries to blow Burleigh away.

The Jets are still winless going into round four but the wheel is turning and change is in the air.

The Jets had 63% of the ball against the Falcons. They completed at 74%, with 47 tackle breaks to 17 from the Falcons, 21 off loads to three yet are still sitting here wondering how they lost 36-20.

The Jets second half was much better and showed the football they can play. However, the first half killed momentum and it was too hard to get it back again.

Jets five-eighth Josh Cleeland has steered the Jets around for 70 games and on Saturday made a line break and two tackle breaks getting back to his running best.

"I think the second half was our best half this year. We just need to eliminate the poor 20 minutes of football," Cleeland said.

"That's where we are losing games and falling 20 behind. It's too hard to chase 20 points in the Intrust Super Cup.

"If we start fast and start well we will be in a much better position.''

Meanwhile up Ipswich Road, the Tigers dominated the Bears and led 26-0 at half time. The Tigers had all the ball and did plenty with it.

The Bears were put under all sorts of pressure with 98 more tackles which meant they then gave away penalties and the Tigers ran rampant.

The Jets will be massive underdogs at the North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday.

The Tigers will be coming to town with all their Storm stars ready to break Ipswich hearts.

Patrolling the edge like a warrior for 132 Intrust Super Cup games will be the Tigers Mitch Frei. Frei will dine out on passes and gaps like a hungry teenager home from school.

"We had a good win last week but if you puff your chest out and walk around too happy with yourself then Ipswich will be a miserable trip," Frei said.

"Simple football has worked for 100 years and to be honest it will work for another 100 years and that what we need to learn.

"We will be trying to make sure we are replicating what we did well against the Bears.''

On which Jet will need stopping, Frei knows too well that sets need starting and the Jets have one of the best.

"Gubby, until you play with Gubby, you don't realise just how important his work to start the set is to his side,'' he said.

"Gubby will put his hand up and get the Jets off to great starts and on the back of that then Neale will rip in and offload.

"Stop Gubby is assignment number one."

Two players to watch

DEAN leremia is the young Storm winger who flies in to the Tigers and is making noise with three tries on debut.

Against the Bears he scored two before half time to get the Tigers off to a great start.

Two line breaks and 150 metres later, leremia had done his job and earned the man of the match award.

"It was a massive difference from playing SG ball in New South Wales," leremia said.

"I just tried to stay out on my wing and take advantage of opportunities.

"I spend my week tackling Nelson Asofa Solomona, so that got me ready for the physicality of Intrust Super Cup."

Jayden Connors had a great second half against the Falcons.

Connors scored his first try of the year and was a danger from the back. Connors had two line breaks and a try assist.

Connors try showed his resilience chasing a kick his own chip and chase kick. He also displayed brilliant speed and awareness.

Promising debut

WILSON Malaesilia made his debut for the Ipswich Jets last Saturday, coming off the bench.

Malaesilia played 30 minutes and made some runs that had real impact.

With 90 metres from his nine runs, Malaesilia bent the Falcons' line. He also had three tackle breaks and with 12 tackles it was a great debut.

"I was watching the contact and thought that's big out there but once I got out there I made my first run and I thought this isn't too bad," Malaesilia said.

"Josh Cleeland was near me and he was really good. He kept encouraging me and making sure I was paying attention.''

The Jets Colts most valuable player from 2019 noticed a difference between Colts and Intrust Super Cup.

"The speed was an issue, just in defence I was pretty tired it's a massive change from Colts,'' he said.

Ipswich Jets captain Nat Neale. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich Jets captain Nat Neale. Picture: David Lems


Players motivated by Nat's lead

CAPTAIN Nat Neale inspires the Jets with his actions. He isn't big on words.

He does his job every week and in turn that makes players want to do their job. Who would want to let Nat down?

The Jets captain and forward leader will play his 155th game for the Jets this week.

Neale will become the Jets' third most capped player and surpass Jets outside back superstar Brendon Marshall on 154 games when he plays against the Tigers.

"I loved playing with Nat, just a leader,'' Marshall said.

"Like Lander he does a lot of stuff that gives you confidence.

"Players that you don't have to worry about that just do their job every week are a joy to play with.

"It's a huge achievement. The thing that stands out for me is Nat came back from the Rabbits and could have had his pick of anywhere to go but he came back to the Jets.

"Great leader, great Jet."

Neale debuted for the Jets in 2011 against the Tigers in a 16 all draw at the North Ipswich Reserve.

Neale has played for Queensland Residents four times. He debuted off the bench in 2013 after 54 games for the Jets and played in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and won the first Petero Civoniceva Medal in 2018 for the best and fairest in the Intrust Super Cup.

Neale has won a record five Allan Langer Medals as the Jets player of the year.

Beside Neale for all of those 155 games is Jets second most capped player and best friend Tyson Lofipo.

"Nat is a great leader and a great Jet," Lofipo said.

"The reason I love playing with him is it doesn't matter if the score is 40-0 up or down you'd never know with Nat.

"He tries the same effort no matter what the score. He's a lot like Danny Coburn and really what more can anyone say about a Jet."

Ipswich Jets rugby league coach Keiron Lander. Picture: David Lems
Ipswich Jets rugby league coach Keiron Lander. Picture: David Lems


A day in the life of: Keiron Lander

THE Beatles may have sung I read the news today when they sung A day in the life.

However, I was sure when I shadowed Jets' coach Keiron Lander against the Falcons last Saturday there wasn't going to be any singing.

The Jets have the same game day routine every week and their last training session is three hours before the game. So, at 11.30am Jets players and staff assembled on the field adjacent to the Sunshine Coast Stadium for training.

Training on game day has been done since 2015. It gets players up and moving and not sitting at home waiting and it means they are home one extra night during the week.

Training starts and the players divide into their sides. Left and right attack and run through their plays with the rest of the players running in defence.

Then it is onto defence.

Lander calmly talks to his right and left side defence about staying square, going up together and making sure they are communicating with each other.

The outside backs field kicks. It's a scorching hot day on the coast and the players need to adapt to the sun.

The session is only short and sharp. Lander is happy and tells the players to go and have lunch - Subway and relax.

A few players head out of the sheds to watch the Colts play the Falcons and a few stay inside and listen to music.

Jets forward Blake Lenehan listens to music and does his Rubik's cube.

Lander and I sit and read the paper trying to solve the Broncos' problems.

Players start to get dressed slowly over the next two hours; 2.15pm is warm up and the players are getting some last-minute strapping from Dean Arbuthnot.

The players go back out to the field and have a warm-up, going through their passing drills.

Lander is after short sharp passes on both sides of your body, a high tempo warm up.

Lander quietly talks to players about what is required and reminds them about their role. Lander tells me about his new shorts his wife bought him and he's very happy with them.

Players retreat inside and Lander doesn't say too much. It's all very quiet and ready.

Jets ready themselves by putting black tape around their arm as a mark of respect for former coach Tommy Raudonikis.

At halftime, the Jets are behind 24-2 and it's fair to say Lander now has some things to say to his team.

Lander is still confident and tries to build the Jets up by pointing out that all their tries have come from kicks. They haven't gone through us they have gone around us so that's good for our defence.

Lander reiterates what they talked about all week and how he doesn't think it has been done yet as well as the Jets could have done it.

He wants the Jets to fight through the middle, to push up and do some really hard work to get back.

The second half the Jets score 18 points through three tries. Jets half Julian Christian scores two tries.

At full-time, Jets winger Peter Gubb needs some stitches to his chin and Lander waits for him to come back from the doctor before addressing his players.

Lander clears the room of everyone bar his players to address the players.

Cooper's stat

NAT Neale: 155 games, 33 tries and 132 points.