(Thanks to the QT, Jay Buchan and Claudia Baxter) THE Ipswich Jets have won three games on the trot, but the bye that follows tomorrow’s match with Tweed Heads can’t come soon enough.
The reason is the Jets have been struck by injuries.
So they are looking to grind the Seagulls into submission by any means possible before having the following weekend off to regroup and recuperate.
Absent from last weekend’s win over Burleigh are centre Donald Malone (leg injury), winger Jarrod McInally (ankle) and possibly five-eighth and captain Keiron Lander.
Lander collided with the goal posts at training on Thursday night.
While the goal post will be fine for the weekend’s fixtures Lander hyper-extended his knee and will be given until tomorrow to prove himself fit.
Lander, who normally plays lock, was filling in at pivot while Dane Phillips recovers from his own knee injury.
Tu’u Maori comes in for Malone, Tautalatasi Tasi replaces McInally while Lander could be replaced by any of Kevin Bell, Chris Ash, Fred Robinson or Matt Parcell.
The good news is the Jets forward pack remains intact and it will play a crucial role if the Jets are to head into the bye on the back of four straight wins.
“Points will come from our defence,” Jets co-coach Shane Walker said.
“We’re just going to have to play how we normally do – up tempo.
“We have to work harder on defence to build pressure.
“Lace (halfback Ian Lacey) is still very creative and Monkey (centre Brendon Marshall), Nat Neale, Tyson (Lofipo), Matty (Parcell), Javarn (White) and Lingy (Jacob Ling) especially, can create something.
“They’re all in great form.”
Tweed sits one point behind Ipswich on the ladder.
A win could see the fourth placed Jets move into the Queensland Cup top three while a loss could land them in seventh spot.
By the time the Jets play their next game, against Redcliffe on May 25, they hope to have all their injured crew available.
“It happens at various stages of the year,” Walker said of his team’s current injury induced predicament.
“It happened last year and we got through it.
“The bye could be handy but we’ve got to get through this week.”
Walker nominated Tweed fullback Shaun Carney, hooker and captain Matt King and reserve Marmin Barba, brother of NRL Dally M Medal winner Ben, as the players who could cause the Jets the most trouble.
“Carney’s in good form,” the coach said.
“He’s really quick and returns the ball well.
“Matt King is really experienced.
“It all revolves around those guys. And Ben Barba’s brother is playing. He’s quick and can play off the cuff well.”
All of which just serves to emphasize the Jets’ need for impeccable line-speed, kick-chase and discipline.
Tweed has been inconsistent this season, mixing abject defeats with inspiring wins.
Last week they went down to Souths Logan 38-26 but that is of no comfort to Walker.
“We’re fully expecting them to be on the bounce back,” he said.
“They got a bit embarrassed at home last week. Previous to that they were in the top four.”
North Ipswich Reserve tomorrow
- Queensland Cup: Ipswich Jets v Tweed Heads, 2pm.
- FOGS Cup: Ipswich Jets v Wynnum Manly, 12.15pm.
- FOGS Colts: Ipswich Jets v Tweed Heads, 4pm.