HE IS lightning over a short distance but staying the long course has paid off for Jarrod McInally.
The former Ipswich Jets, now Easts Tiger, has been signed to a two-year contract by NRL club the Bulldogs.
It is just reward for one of the hardest working and most consistent players in the Queensland Cup in recent seasons.
When the QT chatted with McInally yesterday, he was in Zetland cruising the suburbs of inner-southern Sydney looking at potential places to live.
Among his advisers was Nat Neale, the fellow former Jet, who has been with the Bulldogs for 12 months.
McInally kept the news of his impending signing under wraps for four months, but said that wasn’t difficult.
“It was easy,” McInally said.
“I don’t like talking myself up at the best of times.”
Perhaps that’s what comes from being granted your opportunity late.
McInally is 24, having come up through the Ipswich juniors and into the Jets where he delivered at the highest level week-in, week-out.
Good judges rated McInally ready for a shot at the big leagues years ago when he and Ramon Filipine were wreaking havoc on opposite flanks for the Jets.
At 190cm and 90kg, blessed with speed and athleticism, McInally has a steely attitude to match.
“It was pretty surprising,” he said of hearing the Dogs were seriously interested in signing him.
“But my manager was always confident he could get me something.
“I was pretty pumped.
“But I’ve just got to get through this season first.”
This season saw McInally move to Easts, mainly to enable him to be closer to home and work.
But he doesn’t feel he is doing anything different this season on the field.
He wasn’t even picked in the Queensland Residents team this year, after making the team while at the Jets last season.
It adds fuel to the belief in Ipswich that the Jets aren’t given their fair share, be it penalties or recognition.
The Tigers are in fifth spot on the Q Cup ladder, one spot behind the Jets.
“I’m just doing the same thing,” McInally said.
“That’s how I play the game.”
Maintaining his standards has paid off, with McInally happy to put his other career, as a carpenter, on hold.
“I can’t wait to go out and focus primarily on my footy,” McInally said.
“Rather than have another major commitment as well.
“They’ll be training every day.
“Just being around such a professional culture should hopefully bring out the best in me.”