(Thanx to Jay Buchan and Rob Williams at the QT)
THE Ipswich Jets haven’t beaten any of the Queensland Cup’s top four this season but get the chance today at home against competition leaders Wynnum.
The Jets are chasing their fourth straight winand are confident they have the measure of the reigning premiers.
“They’re on a roll, winning eight of nine in a row,” Jets co-coach Ben Walker said.
“So their confidence is high. But we know we’ve got the team to beat them and the structure to cause them trouble.”
Walker warned his team needs to be on the alert for the snipes from dummy half of Wynnum hooker Jake Granville.
“He was the QRL player of the year (as voted by the coaches) last year,” he said.
The Jets have made some forced changes, with Jermaine Alberts coming in for right centre Brendon Marshall (hamstring strain).
Alberts, who played Reserve grade for the Wests Tigers in 2004, only returned to footy this season following an eight-year absence.
“He’s got the ability,” Jets co-coach Ben Walker said.
“As a young fella he was NRL-bound. He turned up here in December and has made a massive improvement since then.
“He’s just getting back into it and he matches up very well against the Wynnum centre on his side (Dan Wallace).
“He’s very elusive, strong, fast and powerful and is a bit bigger and more intimidating (than Wallace).”
With Nat Neale unavailable due to a rib injury, captain Keiron Lander starts at lock for the first time this season, pushing Sam Martin into the second row.
Halfback Todd Riggs paid the price for his unavailability for personal reasons last weekend.
Coaches Ben and Shane Walker have stuck with the combination that served them so well in last week’s big win over Mackay, with Michael Fisher starting at hooker and Ian Lacey at halfback.
Kurtis Lingwoodock will come off the bench against the team he won the competition with last season.
The Swifts junior, who was contracted to the Brisbane Broncos last year, has been earning high praise from coaches and teammates in recent weeks.
“I want to win a bit more that usual,” Lingwoodock said.
The extra motivation against his old team could see him produce something special in front of his harshest critic – his mum.
“There’s still a lot of room for improvement,” he said of his own game.
“So my mother likes to say. I’m trying to improve every game.”
It took Lingwoodock time to get used to the Jets’ style under the Walkers but he is feeling more comfortable as the season progresses.
Lingwoodock was with the Jets when they reached the 2008 grand final so knows better than most what it takes to get there.
He believes the Jets have the goods this season, provided the improvement of recent weeks continues.
“We’re all close at the club,” he said. “We just need to play like we did last week and aim up.”
Ipswich Jets: 1. Javarn White, 2. Ramon Filipine, 3. Donald Malone, 4. Jermaine Alberts, 5. Jarrod McInally, 6. Brendon Lindsay, 7. Ian Lacey, 8. Tyson Lofipo, 9. Michael Fisher, 10. Rowan Winterfield, 11. Sam Martin, 12. Lorenzo Maafu, 13. Keiron Lander, 14. Smith Samau, 15. Luke Page, 16. Luke Walker, 17. Kurtis Lingwoodock.