Selection headaches face Jets

(Thanx to the QT) THINGS are going so well for the Ipswich Jets, their coaches are starting to worry.

Worry about how to pick a team for the opening game of the Queensland Cup on March 10, that is.

The Jets won all three trials against South Logan, in Reserve grade on Friday night (16-10) and colts and first grade (16-10) on Saturday.

The Saturday games were shifted from the North Ipswich Reserve to Wests-Centenary due to rain.

“Friday night was good,” Jets co-coach Ben Walker said.

“A couple of the boys really surprised us.”

They included former Northern Suburbs (Ipswich Rugby League) forwards James Stephensen and Tuuta Manu.

“Both games (first and Reserve grade) were sloppy because of the wet but we did enough in both games to win,” Walker said.

“It was a good lesson and good practice in grinding out wins.”

Walker believes the victories are a good indication of where the Jets stand.

“We had five games last year that were rain-affected and we didn’t perform too well,” he said.

“So we asked them to play in a certain way and they did.

“Defensively we’ve been good.”

The only downside to the trials is having to pick a 17-man first grade squad.

“A lot of guys pick themselves,” Walker said.

“But trying to find a lot of blokes’ positions is going to be tough. I was on the phone with Shane for an hour struggling about how we do it.

“Probably the halves and bench are our major headaches at the moment.”

They will have to decide which two of Todd Riggs, Brendon Lindsay and Ian Lacey fill the halves and which of Lacey, Michael Fisher and Matt Parcell gets the hooker’s jersey.

“Matt Parcell once again went really well and put the pressure on (other players vying for his position),” Walker said.

It seems unlikely Parcell will have played his way into the Jets number nine jersey but he may have earned himself a spot on the bench.

“He could play halfback, five-eighth, lock or hooker,” Walker said.

The Walkers got their first look at new fullback Javarn White, who has spent the entire pre-season with the Gold Coast Titans.

The co-coaches liked what they saw.

“He showed glimpses,” Walker said.

“He had no idea what we were doing but you could see he had class.”

White faces tough competition from Eric Alofosio who also impressed on Saturday.

“Eric played the first 40 minutes at fullback and did a good job for us so we’ve got a bit of depth there,” Walker said.

The selection dilemma is not a bad one to have, with depth an enviable headache to have.

“We look at a season, not just one game,” Walker said.

“Whatever side we put out this week most likely won’t be the team for the first semi-final.”


Ipswich Jets wrapped up their final trials with wins in all three grades against Souths-Logan.

The opening round of the Queensland Cup is against Northern Pride at Cairns on March 10.