Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Defence Key to Unlocking Jets

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Defence Key to Unlocking Jets

Article excerpt

BEN

WILMOTT

ben.wilmott@qt.com.au

ATTACK is usually the word that goes hand in hand with the Ipswich Jets.

But as all good rugby league teams know, a good attack comes from having a solid defence.

As Jets co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker look to turn their fortunes around against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls tomorrow, there is one man ready to lead from the front of the pack.

After two years with South Sydney, Nathaniel Neale has returned to the Jets and quickly established himself as the club's leading forward in 2016.

Of his 173 tackles this season, the former Rabbitoh has only missed seven.

His impressive record makes Neale the busiest player in defence for the Jets, and accounts for 12% of the side's total 1433 tackle count for the season.

Neale said he hadn't been keeping track of his ever-growing tackle count but agreed defence would win games for the Jets.

"I just do what I can for the team," he said. "I always want to do as many tackles as I can and just play some good footy. We have to outscore (the opposition) so if we can stop tries that makes our job a bit easier when we are scoring them ourselves."

The team roster has changed dramatically since the last time Neale was in green and white.

From his former team mates only three are still present in the 2016 squad.

"There's only Dane (Phillips), Sam (Martin) and Nemani (Valekapa) that I used to play with," he said.

"The culture has stayed the same (though). I found the culture in Sydney quite hard but the Jets are really family orientated so I found it easy to come back.

"It was a bit of a struggle at the start but now I am back in the swing of things it's all good."

Since returning to his old stomping ground at North Ipswich Reserve, Neale said one new face had already impressed him at the Jets.

"Rory has been really good," he said. "When he's been chucked into a few different positions he has impressed in all of them. …

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