NO-ONE will doubt Ipswich’s Queensland Cup title credentials if they can overcome what shapes as a bad case of Jet-lag by beating Townsville in Charters Towers this evening.
The Jets are one of only two teams the Blackhawks have lost to in this, their debut season in the Queensland Cup.
The other is PNG Hunters, to whom the Jets lost 32-14 last weekend.
The Blackhawks had a tough month with a bye, losing to PNG and drawing with Easts, but responded with style last week by beating Tweed Heads 52-12.
The Blackhawks have power and experience all over the field with 12 players who have graced the National Rugby League (NRL), including five-eighth Robert Lui, former State of Origin forward Neville Costigan and former Jets star Lorenzo Ma’afu.
Making the Jets’ task even tougher is the eight hours it will take them to get to Charters Towers, before they even lace on their boots.
A win in such hostile environs would prove they can win the comp.
A loss wouldn’t spell the end for the Jets’ top three hopes, but it would continue a worrying trend.
For the previous four seasons the Jets have gone into finals with a win rate of 50 percent or worse for the second half of the season.
Of their past eight matches this season they have won four and lost four.
It is the last week the Jets will be without the services of key forwards Keiron Lander and Sam Martin however.
So if they can beat the Blackhawks and win their final two rounds against Tweed Heads and Sunshine Coast they would take unprecedented momentum and confidence into the finals.
Ipswich Jets: 1 Carlin Anderson, 2 Marmin Barba, 3 Chris Walker, 4 Nemani Valekapa, 5 Brandon McGrady, 6 Josh Cleeland, 7 Dane Phillips (c), 8 Josh Seage, 9 Matt Parcell, 10 Rod Griffin, 11 TBA, 12 Kurt Capewell, 13 Richard Pandia, 14 Landon Hayes, 15 Kurtis Lingwoodock, 16 Billy McConnachie, 17 Liam Capewell.