Ip-switching it up: Gulls stay hip to mercurial Jets
RUGBY LEAGUE: One might think an opposition’s quirky game style would require in-depth analyses and planning, but the Tweed Seagulls won’t be paying too much mind to the Ipswich Jets’ unpredictable traits in today’s ISC match-up at Piggabeen.
The clash shapes as the Seagulls’ biggest in recent memory and, if it can extend a three game win-streak, the club could find itself within striking distance of the ISC top six.
But to get back into the finals conversation, the Seagulls need to decode the Jets’ switchy style of play.
“(The Jets) are different so they don’t really give you a gauge,” said Seagulls coach Ben Woolf.
“It can be such a difficult game that you have to prepare differently. You can get caught out in ways that you normally wouldn’t. They always play an exciting brand of footy.”
But Woolf says the best way for his side to combat the noise from across the pitch will be to exercise patience and calm.
“They’re unpredictable, so we’ve put a little bit of time into them, but we’re just more focussed on getting ourselves right this week, getting through our sets and letting the footy come,” he said.
“We’ve got to be better in the ruck than we were against Mackay, but we’ve also got to make sure we keep playing that attacking footy.”
The Seagulls enjoyed seven days off over the bye to freshen up some “boys who were a bit busted”, according to Woolf.
Apart from the injured Hiale Roycroft and Tristan Lumley, the Seagulls will have a near full-strength outfit to throw at the sixth-placed Jets side, spearheaded by ex-rabbitoh Nathaniel Neale and emerging hooker Julian Christian.
Helping and hindering the Seagulls’ cause is good and bad news at the Gold Coast Titans’ selection table.
The bad: Tweed will have to do it without fullback AJ Brimson, who has been arguably the club’s most important cog during the past few rounds, after the Titans selected the 19-yearold to make his NRL debut today in recognition of his blistering form at Cup level.
Moeaki Fotuaika, who made his NRL debut last week during the Seagulls’
bye, will also remain with the Titans for their fixture against the Melbourne Storm.
The good: The Seagulls will run out against Ipswich with more NRL experience than at any point during the season with the addition of Titans-listed players Konrad Hurrell, Leilani Latu and Brendan Elliot to the team.
Halfback Kane Elgey, who will look to impress again at Cup level, remains with the Seagulls along with Kiah Cooper and Ryan Simpkins.