IPSWICH Jets captain Keiron Lander looked worse for wear with a strapped-up head and remnants of blood on his face.
He needed 10 stitches after a nasty head clash with Burleigh player Josh Ailaomai in Sunday’s 28-18 rugby league loss at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Lander returned to the field as his team set about building a 16-6 halftime lead. However, that was all the respected Jets leader could manage, having to watch the second half from the bench.
“It just kept bleeding. It wasn’t going to stop,” Lander said of the cut received in the eighth minute of the match.
However, Lander was yesterday more concerned about rectifying the team’s poor handling than his head injury.
He confirmed he received no concussion and was keen to be back leading the Jets in Sunday’s away Queensland Cup match against the Redcliffe Dolphins.
That would be the 100th match for the inspirational Jets leader.
“It’s not too bad,” Lander said of his injury.
“The doc done a good job.
“I’ve had previous issues with my neck and back. The doc keeps a pretty good eye on me.
“I’ll just give it a week to heal and a bit of tape.
“I’ll be right.”
With another pivotal Jets player Rod Griffin nursing a bruised right finger and in doubt for the short-term, the Jets lacked composure against Burleigh’s big men who powered home.
“Yesterday was unacceptable,” Lander said.
“We’ve just got to be conscious of how we hold the ball.
“We just didn’t protect it.
“At the end of the day, that’s what it came down to – simple errors, under eight stuff we need to get right pretty quickly.”
Lander said Griffin’s leadership and forward strength were missed.
“But having Rod out was definitely no excuse,” he said.
“The boys have to step up and take that leadership role.
“We didn’t need to score any points (leading in the second half). We’ve done it well in the past (defending under pressure).”
Lander expected his team to hit back strongly this weekend, as they did following their first-round loss against Wynnum Manly.
The Jets won the next five games before Sunday’s mistake-ridden performance.
“We’ll get back to it this week,” the skipper said.
“I wasn’t the only one disappointed with that game. The whole team will be.
“Simple handling errors are just not acceptable at this level and we can easily rectify it, that’s for sure.”