THE Ipswich Jets tomorrow head to Coorparoo to tackle Easts in a grudge match which could have a significant bearing on the make-up of the final five.
The Jets were flying high when they last met in May, but the Tigers, featuring three former Jets players, exposed flaws in the Ipswich team’s game plan to win 22-12 at the North Ipswich Reserve.
A win for the Jets tomorrow would move them to within a point of Easts, who sit second on the Queensland Cup ladder.
It would also see them draw level with Wynnum Manly should the Seagulls lose to ladder leaders Northern Pride.
For the second successive week, the Jets can call on the services of Brisbane Broncos winger Daniel Vidot.
Vidot was used as a forward against Central Queensland last weekend but Jets co-coach Shane Waker said he may have a more traditional winger’s role tomorrow – not that it means much, the way the Jets play.
“Nemani (Valekapa), our centre, led the way last week for hit-ups and metres,” Walker said.
The coach believes the game will be won and lost in how effectively the Jets limit the Easts’ forward pack’s go-forward and is asking his forwards to step up.
“Coming out of trouble, like a lot of teams, they’re pretty basic,” Walker said of the Tigers.
“They roll out off the back of their big forwards.
“It’s important we stop the likes of Mitch Garbutt.
“If he gets a roll on, then the likes of (hooker) Tom Butterfield and (five-eighth) Jacob Fauid play off the back of that.”
In May the Jets had no answer to a rampaging Garbutt and Walker doesn’t want his forwards to offer the same liberties tomorrow.
Part of the reason Garbutt was so effective was because the Tigers got away with taking liberties to slow the Jets down.
Given a more accurate implementation of the rules, Walker is confident there will be no repeat.
“The wrestle was allowed and the markers were allowed to stand beside the ruck,” he said.
“They came with that mindset to slow us down.
“We had to adapt on the run and it was too late.”
Walker admits his team will have to be better this time than last, however, irrespective of the referee’s interpretation.
“Last time, our defence leaked 22 points,” Walker said.
“Everyone has confidence in our ability to attack.
“That game probably highlighted how we were getting away with a few things we hadn’t focused that hard on, such as our defence.”
Qld Cup: Tomorrow (2pm) – Ipswich Jets v Easts Tigers at Langlands Park.
Head to head: Easts 19, Ipswich 17, drawn 1.
Referee: Tim Rutherford.
Ipswich Jets line-up: 1 Javarn White, 2 Kurt Capewell, 3 Nemani Valekapa, 4 Brendon Marshall, 5 Carlin Anderson, 6 Josh Cleeland, 7 Dane Phillips, 8 Kurtis Lingwoodock, 9 Troy O’Sullivan, 10 Rod Griffin, 11 Josh Seage, 12 Sam Martin, 13 Keiron Lander (c), 14 Daniel Vidot, 18 Marmin Barba, 19 Wes Conlon, 22 Matt Parcell.