Miracle needed but Jets still alive for finals

Courtesy of Joel Gould at the QT

IT needs a miracle to become a reality.

But Jets fans, we can give you a glimmer of hope that Ipswich can still make the finals this year provided they, for starters, beat Tweed Heads on Saturday and the rugby league gods smile on the men in green and white like never before.

While maths is not our strongest suit, the QT has done all the permutations and come up with what we will call ‘the magnificent seven’ results over the next two weeks that could see the Jets make the Intrust Super Cup top six and play finals football.

Of the games out of the Jets hands, it is fair to say three of the required results are likely, one is possible and one requires a considerable upset.

The Jets, on 22 points, need to get to 26 points and improve their points differential, which at the moment is -11, to finish sixth.

Ahead of them are eighth placed Wynnum-Manly on 24 points, with a zero points difference. Then on 26 points are sixth-placed Easts Tigers (+27) and Souths-Logan (-9) in seventh.

Firstly, the Jets must beat Tweed Heads on Saturday and Wynnum-Manly away next week to finish on 26 points.

This weekend the three key clashes are Easts v Burleigh, Mackay v Souths-Logan and Sunshine Coast v Wynnum-Manly.

On form, second placed Burleigh are likely to beat Easts. Souths-Logan travel to Mackay to play the Cutters and the Jets need the Cutters to prevail.

If the Sunshine Coast beat Wynnum-Manly that will keep the Seagulls on 24 points and worsen their for and against, which the Jets need.

Next week the Jets need Burleigh to beat Souths-Logan at Pizzey Park. The fly in the ointment is Easts hosting Mackay. The Cutters need to upset the Tigers in that one.

“And if all that happens we find ourselves in the play-offs,” Jets co-coach Shane Walker said.

“While ever there is life there is hope and while ever there is hope there is life.

“We don’t want to turn up next week at Wynnum knowing that results had gone our way this weekend and be already out.

“So we are going in to the Tweed game with the mindset that we play really well and win.

“We are optimistic … and realistically Mackay are one of the form teams in the competition right now and could easily spring two upsets.

“Burleigh are fighting it out for the number one position so they are going to be hard to beat in both games so it is possible.”

The key here, is that the Jets are gone if any side gets to 28 points. The Jets also need to win by a decent margin and hope Easts get a touch-up, which is more than likely to happen this weekend against the Bears.

The Jets go in to Saturday’s clash with backs Michael Purcell and Nemani Valekapa on fire.

“Since Michael has come back from injury he has been outstanding,” Walker said.

“He’s got terrific endurance, great speed and awareness.

“It is typical of all our indigenous players. They have a sixth sense you can’t coach and that is why we love having them in the team.

“Nemani has been very good. He had two full-timers marking him last weekend in Aaron Whitchurch and Darren Nicholls and he certainly made them look inferior.”

Forwards Billy McConnachie, Jesse Roberts and Dave Fa’alogo all take strong form into Saturday’s clash.

Walker said Tweed Heads would be a tough opponent.

“You can get lulled into a false sense of security against Tweed because you can watch them one week and they don’t appear to be going particularly well,” he said.

“But then they always get themselves up to play us.”

Titans star William Zillman has been named to play fullback for the Seagulls, and will be keen for a big game on Jets Old Boys day.

“Zillman is our biggest threat and he played for the Jets as did his father (Mark),” Walker said.

Legendary band Hot Chocolate sang a song with the famous line ‘I believe in miracles’ and that is exactly what the Jets need this weekend.

Walker admitted he hadn’t seen a set of results all work out over two rounds like that.

“Not in footy,” he grinned.

“But I have in ice skating … with Steven Bradbury.”

Yep. That’s what the Jets need. To stay standing and win while the rest fall over and lose.

Game day

Saturday (3pm): Ipswich Jets v Tweed Heads Seagulls at the North Ipswich Reserve.

Ipswich Jets: Michael Purcell, Ono So’oialo, Ben White, Nemani Valekapa, Richard Pandia, Haydan Lipp, Chris Ash, David Fa’alogo, Mikaere Beattie, Nat Neale, Jesse Roberts, Tyson Lofipo, Billy McConnachie, Sam Martin, Liam Capewell, Fakahoko Teutau, Peter Whittaker. Coaches: Ben and Shane Walker.