Jets in spotlight desperate to make finals
THE IPSWICH Jets travel to Bishop Park on Sunday with their future in their hands.
However, the Jets will also be hoping the Hunters have lost their game on Saturday night.
The Jets have not played at Bishop Park since round three last season and they came away with a 32-10 loss.
The Jets last won at North Brisbane in 2016.
The Jets' record against Norths is not great - 18 wins from 42 games.
The Jets have won seven lost 12 and drawn one at Bishop Park.
The Jets have already accounted for Norths once this year with Nat Neale scoring two tries and securing man-of-the-match honours.
Norths are coming off a loss to Mackay and cannot make the finals.
Jets co-coach Ben Walker spoke about the Jets' situation.
"We are playing football that wins finals, and if we are there every other team in the top six knows that and will be looking at us,'' he said.
While Devils coach Rohan Smith knows that Norths won't be part of September action this year he is taking positives from their 2018 campaign.
"We have had 21 players debut this year so we've had a massive overhaul of our club,'' Smith said.
"Sunday is Old Boys day for us so it's very important that we end this year playing football on a positive note."
The ideal situation for Ipswich is the Hunters lose to the Capras on Saturday night and the Jets beat Norths on Sunday.
If that happens the Jets will sneak into sixth spot and the finals.
Play of the day
THE Jets were clinical against the Tweed Seagulls. With 63% of the ball and time in possession a mammoth 26 minutes compared to 15 for Tweed.
The Jets made six line breaks to three and forced the Seagulls to make 54 more tackles.
My play of the day was Marmin Barba's try.
The Jets go left through the hands and Isi Hakoka puts in a nice little kick for Barba to score. The Jets had absorbed pressure from the Seagulls and it was their first time down on the attack. The Jets compacted the Tweed's defence with plenty of Jets inside line football then put it through the hands.
Isi talked me through the try.
"I started out trying to move to the outside of the defender but he moved and had me covered. I knew it was the last tackle and rolled the kick through for Marmin who called for me to kick,'' he said.
The movement showed great hands and reaction from Isi to change his mind and select the correct play.
ON THE field, Dane Phillips and Wes Conlon have been outstanding Jets and I was shocked when they both announced their retirement.
Dane is the fifth-most capped Jet of all-time on 136 games and Wes is the club's second-highest points scorer on 497 points.
Dane's legacy will be the 2015 finals series where he was exceptional.
Wes will always make me smile when I think of him drifting across the field and then stepping back or kicking for himself.
Their contribution to the Jets is so much more than that; they are great people. Great husbands, fathers and mates.
They are always smiling and happy to be playing football for the Jets.
I sat down with Dane and Wes and talked Jets and highlights.
"My first training session I couldn't believe it,'' Wes said.
"It brought so much fun back into the game for me and seeing the Jets go all the way in 2015 was special to be part of that."
Dane shared his highlight.
"The grand final, to be part of that win is so special. Life long memories,'' he said.
THE Jets have some chances in the team of the year at Wednesday's QRL awards.
In the front row, I would say Nat Neale and Ben Shea for lock of the year are the best chances in the positional awards.
Michael Purcell will be close but I think Scott Drinkwater will be fullback of the year.
Purcell is the Intrust Super Cup's leading try scorer on 18 with one round to go.
Neale will be a massive chance to win the Petero Civoniceva Medal with Jake Clifford having missed games while playing for the Cowboys.
Redcliffe's Kontoni Staggs will be rookie of the year.
I think Pride's Jake Clifford will challenge him.
Ben Walker gave his insight into which Jets are a chance to have to make a speech on the night for winning awards.
"I would say Nat Neale without a doubt,'' Walker said.
"Then you can throw in Ben Shea and Michael Purcell, Richard Pandia . . . and even though he's missed a month which may cost him, Sebastian Pandia would be close to the second rower of the year."
WHEN the Jets play Norths this week they will not have to come up against Billy Slater.
Before Slater became an NRL player, he was a young Devil running away from Jets.
Slater announced his retirement recently and I caught up with him to talk Jets.
Slater played 23 Intrust Super Cup games for Norths and two games against the Jets in his career. He scored one try that was at Bishop Park in a 26-18 win in 2002.
I did not know it then but if you re-watch the try, it is prophetic.
Cameron Smith jumps out of dummy half and engages the marker, he gives his forward Trent McKeough plenty of room and then you see Slater loom on the right .
When the ball is free, he takes the pass running between defenders and away from Marshall Chalk to score his eighth Queensland Cup try.
Smith kicks the goal.
Like take-away on a Friday night that play would become part of your weekend until 2018.
I asked Slater about his memories of his Norths v Jets days and his only try against the Jets.
"I remember scoring that try against Ipswich at Bishop Park my first year of Intrust Super Cup,'' Slater said.
"Back then, the Jets had a player that I watched play for the Cowboys in my younger years, Reggie Cressbrook.
"I remember that prelim final too against the Jets. That year we were winning with 10 minutes to go and it all came apart and we missed the grand final.
"Reggie kicked a field goal and three goals and we lost by three."
WES Conlon is the second highest points scorer for the Jets with 497. He is closing in on his 500th point for the Jets.
Conlon became the fifth Jet to score four tries in a game.
The others were Michael Purcell (2016), Jarrod McInally (2012), Adam Connolly (2004), Graham Mackay (2003).
Marmin Barba is chasing 450 points this weekend. He is currently on 448.
Michael Purcell needs one try to be equal with Luke Walker on 55 tries for the Jets.
MICHAEL Purcell has 54 tries from 54 games.
Marmin Barba scored 54 tries in 47 games.
A cold beer with . . .
OF the five Walters brothers, four played for the Jets. Steve Walters wandered off to Bishop Park to play for the Devils. I caught up with Steve for his thoughts.
You are the only brother not to be a Jet. Why is that? The Jets were not in the BRL yet and Norths gave me a chance to come down and play A-Grade so I took it then I was off to the Raiders in 1986.
How did you end up at Norths? Bob Bax was ringing our house to try to convince Brett to come down to Norths and between the first call and second call I said tell them you have a brother that can play. Norths said ok bring him too.
What are your memories of the North Ipswich Reserve on a cold night? I remember plenty of great games at the Reserve from when I was kid. I remember Ipswich playing Great Britain and going to that game.
Do you have a favourite Ipswich footballer? I just loved watching Swifts play. Those players were my heroes. Billy Pickering was my favourite at Swifts, and the premiership in 1977 and 1981 I was there and loved it. They were local people that you could see during the week and they played for the same club as you.