Why PNG trip will make or break Ipswich’s finals hopes

Courtesy of Michael Nunn

THE Ipswich Jets travel to PNG this weekend with a far from impressive record against the Hunters.

The Jets were beaten both times there. Ipswich lost 40-28 in 2015 and 40-22 in 2014.

Overall, the Jets record is even against the Hunters, with three wins each.

The Jets need to win and it’s not going to be easy in PNG.

The Hunters have played 32 games at home, winning 30 including their last 24.

The Hunters are coming off a 38-8 win over the Tigers and haven’t lost a game at home this year.

Thompson Teteh is a danger.

His two tries for the Hunters in their big win over the Tigers makes him the club’s leading try scorer with 31.

Justin Olam’s 10 tries makes him the Hunter’s leading try scorer.

Most of PNG’s points come from Noel Zeming. This season he has 108 points.

Deserved debut

THE most enjoyable part of working for a football club is seeing guys that you’ve worked with since Colts make their Intrust Super Cup debut.

Pete Whittaker achieved that last Saturday and became Jet # 577.

His size would have had the Bears’ forwards’ eyes lighting up at running at him. But what they wouldn’t have known is that Pete wouldn’t have cared less.

Bigger guys have been running at him his whole life and he chops them down.

Having Peter playing Intrust Super Cup is a great advertisement for hard work.

Remember that Jet?

JET # 187 Jason Hetherington rang me back and said let’s talk Jets.

He laughed as he spoke about coming out to Laidley to play on a Sunday afternoon in 1991 as a fill-in under a different name so he didn’t get in trouble from his rugby union club in Brisbane.

A few phone calls and the kid at Laidley soon had the Jets recognise his talent and invite him to come and play.

He stayed at the Jets for two years before leaving for the Gold Coast and then the Bulldogs as the replacement for Terry Lamb.

The move to hooker happened due to injury and he never went back to Reserve grade or the halves. Chris Anderson cut hours of footage of another great Ipswich son Steve Walters and said this is what you need to do – watch it.

Hetherington played in three NRL grand finals, winning a premiership as well as Origin and Test football.

Hetherington is now a father with two young sons about to head off to follow their football dreams.

The former Jet spoke about how Jim and Dot Landy were like parents to him and how much he loved his two years living out in Rosewood and playing for the Jets.

Magic milestones

SAM Martin needs 12 points to get 100 points for the Jets.

Dane Phillips needs two points to reach 100 points for the Jets.

Tyson Lofipo needs four games to go past Brendon Lindsay to 136 games.

Sam Martin needs two games to go past Brian McCarthy to 122 games.

Nemani Valekapa needs six points for 150 points for the Jets.

Cooper’s stat

THE Jets played the Vipers at Lloyd Robson in 1996 losing 34-14.

The Vipers were only in the newly formed Queensland Cup in 1996 and 1997 before the Hunters returned PNG to the Intrust Super Cup in 2014.

Women’s Origin links

THE women’s Origin was played on the weekend on the Gold Coast.

NSW ended Queensland’s 17 years of dominance by winning 8-4.

Ipswich was well represented in the match.

Ali Brigginshaw scored Queensland’s only try.

Brittany Breayley is a former Norths Tiger.

Team manager was Steve Brown, who is an NRL development officer in Ipswich.

Queensland’s senior trainer Robyn Tyler was also involved with the Ipswich Cyril Connell team.

A cold beer with . . .

BIG New Zealander Nat Neale has been out injured for two weeks so we took the time to sit down over a Speights beer to discuss life.

Who was your favourite player growing up? Jonah Lomu.

What is your favourite song? Wu Tang Clan C.R.E.A.M

What was your first tattoo? It’s a little shape of New Zealand under my arm.

Roommate on away trips? Tyson Lofipo.

What is your pre-game meal of choice? Chicken Pesto Pasta.