NOT content with earning their first Queensland Cup win of the season, the Jets proved they could do it a man down yesterday.
The Jets beat the Central Capras 36-28 in Rockhampton, their first win from four games, after second rower Lorenzo Maafu was sent of for an alleged head butt in the fourth minute of the match.
In two of the Jets’ pre-season trials this year, the Jets hauled a player off to see how the rest responded. It proved good practice yesterday.
“I don’t know if it helped but I’m confident we’re a lot better than last year,” Jets co-coach Ben Walker said. “Against the Sunny Coast (last year), we were a man down for 50 minutes and got beaten after being in front.”
It was nil-all when Maafu got marched but the Jets led 22-4 at halftime despite severely limiting their game plan.
It was only in the dying minutes that the Capras were able to get the deficit back to single digits.
“We did change it completely,” Walker said of the game plan.
“We learned a bit from last year when we tried to play in the same style with 12 men on the field.
“We went back to a really simple game through the middle.
“Everyone had to stand up and play a different role in the team.
“To win pretty easily in the end was pretty good. It’s a credit to the boys and one of those wins you’ll always remember.”
As he waited for the plane back from Rockhampton, Walker admitted he would enjoy a beer or two to celebrate.
“I guess it is,” he said when asked if it was a relief to finally win one. “It would be a relief if we didn’t think we were going to get another win.
“We knew it was going to come but we were glad to get it today.”
Walker paid credit to fullback Javarn White, who showed some of the form that made his the Queensland Cup’s player-of-the year while at Norths.
“He’s had a tough start to the year for us after spending the pre-season with the (Gold Coast) Titans,” he said. “(Yesterday) he really clicked with our players.”
Forward Nat Neale was another to earn praise while captain Ian Lacey again showed his class from dummy half.
Walker is not hopeful of having Maafu back next weekend when the Jets take on Tweed Heads, as he has priors on his record for a similar offence. “When you’re sent off, you generally don’t get a good result from the judiciary,” Walker said.
Either way, the Jets will head to the coast with a weight lifted off the players’ shoulders, if not the coaches’.
“It probably does (ease the pressure),” Walker admitted.
“The way we did it gives us a lot of confidence. We were confident in the way we’ve been playing for the past three weeks. But with the players not getting a win, that win was worth two.”
It was a great weekend for the Jets with the FOGS Cup and Colts teams also earning their first wins of the season.
Jets FOGS beat Souths Logan 22-4 while the Colts beat Toowoomba 32-18.
Thanks to QT, Jay Buchan and Sharyn O’Neill