IT IS not exactly a tropical island getaway.
But Ipswich Jets captain Keiron Lander will enjoy his work-related trip to the Torres Strait Islands this weekend for a number of reasons.
He goes there having been cleared by the Queensland Rugby League judiciary of having a case to answer after being placed on report in the Jets’ 16-6 Queensland Cup win over Tweed Heads last Sunday.
Lander was reported for a supposed high shot on Tweed fullback Shaun Carney but the judiciary deemed the penalty he incurred at the time was sufficient.
He didn’t think there was too much in the incident, but admitted “you’re always worried” when you’ve been cited.
Lander was delighted to head into this weekend’s bye with a fourth straight win he described as their best defensive effort of the season.
He is also confident his sore leg would be fine by the time the Jets resume against Redcliffe on May 25.
The Jets captain collided with a goal post at training last Thursday and was in doubt for the Jets game until the morning of the match.
Typical of the Jets inspirational leader, however, he not only played, but set the tone in defence with his uncompromising tackling and picked up the man-of-the-match award.
By the time he limped off at the 75 minute mark with the match in the bag, the Tweed Heads players knew how the goalpost Lander collided with felt.
“I pulled up a bit sore but that was to be expected,” he said.
“I had prepared well and looked after it since Thursday night.”
The skipper has been filling in at five-eighth since Dane Phillips tore his posterior cruciate ligament, but hasn’t altered how Lander, normally a lock, approaches the game in defence.
On Saturday he also showed some deft touches with the boot and provided the backline link when his outside men found space.
They included recent top grade replacements such as wingers Tautalatasi Tasi and Troy O’Sullivan, who scored two tries, as well as centre Tu’u Maori.
“You can tell we’re going well because we’ve had so many injuries and the people coming in are doing the job well,” Lander said.
“From a coach’s point of view, that’s what they’re trying to do.
“Whether it is Duck (Donald Malone) or Lace (Ian Lacey) out or whatever.
“To know the person coming in will do the job, keep to the structures and be competitive every time.”
While the replacements have got the job done, Lander has no doubt the whole squad will be better off for the bye.
“It’s good to have the two weeks off,” Lander said.
“It’s a great time to have the bye.
“We’ve played nine games or something and it is always good to let, not just your body catch up on a bit of rest, but to have time with your partners or friends.”
For Lander it means a trip to Horn and Badu islands to promote a Murri rugby league carnival and indigenous health in schools.
Lander hopes the Jets’ break results in an improvement in their ball handling and discipline – the two areas he thinks his team needs to definitely improve.
“Our completions and a few silly errors are killing us,” Lander said.
“The penalty count killed us on the weekend. I’m not saying it was all our fault. But if we get that right, we will put pressure on all the other teams.”