FAR from being concerned about the growing Ipswich Jets casualty ward, co-coach Shane Walker welcomed it.
Not because he and brother Ben want to deny any of the regular Jets players more game time in the Intrust Super Cup.
The Walker brothers instead see Sunday’s round 6 match against the Norths Devils as a chance to blood more players in the Jets rugby league family.
“It’s part and parcel (of what we do),” Shane said, preparing for the encounter at the North Ipswich Reserve.
“Timo (Paseko) debuted last week and did a wonderful job.
“It’s more than likely this week, we’ll have more debutants.
“We’re not worried about the injuries. We’re excited about the debutants.”
Jets players “definitely” out are fullback Michael Purcell (broken radius and ulna bones in his forearm) and utility Rowan Winterfield (grade two medial ligament). They will need surgery and could be out for between three weeks and four months.
Centre Richard Pandia will be rested having been concussed against the Dolphins.
However, Jets have received some good news with captain Nat Neale expected to play against the Devils after a suspected cheek bone injury in latest weekend’s brutal 20-12 victory over Redcliffe.
“He has a heavily bruised eye now,” Walker said. “He trained and he seems to be okay.”
Winger Marmin Barba is also likely to play after recovering from an ankle injury in the physical clash at Dolphin Oval.
However, halfback Julian Christian (ankle injury) will be given until match morning to see if he can retain his place in the Jets’ line-up.
Jets regulars Josh Seage and Ben Shea could also play a role if cleared from recent issues.
With so many injuries in last weekend’s courageous win, the Jets finished the game with “11 and a half” men with players like Christian limping on one leg.
Despite what looked a worrying week, Walker said it was business as usual at training except for calling up Jets reinforcements.
They include Ipswich competition regulars Shar Walden, Ray Baaira and Blake Lenehan. Toowoomba competition players like Todd White, Shannon Hicks and Jacob Teevan were on standby through the week.
“All of those guys will come into calculation,” Walker said.
“They have been training with us, part of what we’ve got to manage with the QRL’s decision to take away our BRL (Brisbane Rugby League) team.”
The Jets can’t even tap into the out-of-sorts Broncos NRL squad, which has provided players in the past to sharpen up in the state league.
Walker joked the Jets didn’t quite need to bring in a drip yet to treat all the wounded.
“We approached it the same way we always do,” Walker said.
“We had a review done on Tuesday and just had a light training week because it was such a taxing sort of game.”
As for Norths, Walker expects to face a team with a familiar style of footy.
“They are a very good side Norths,” Walker said.
“They play a lot of similar footy as us – short drop-offs and short kick-offs, pretty expansive with the ball so it will almost be like a Jets’ oppose session.”
Intrust Super Cup Rd 6: Sunday (1.10pm) – Ipswich Jets v Norths Devils at North Ipswich Reserve. Live on Channel Nine.
Ipswich Jets: 1. Denzel Burns, 2. Marmin Barba, 3. Rory Humphreys, 4. Isi Hafoka, 5. Peter Gubb, 6. Josh Cleeland, 7. Julian Christian, 8. Tyson Lofipo, 15. Kierran Moseley, 10. Nat Neale (c), 17. Billy McConnachie, 12. Ben White, 13. Josh Seage, 14. Shar Walden, 11. Timote Paseka, 16. Huskie Teutau, 20. Ray Baira, 21. Blake Lenehan. Co-coaches: Ben Walker and Shane Walker.
Norths Devils: 1. Jack Ahearn, 2. Paul Ulberg, 3. Henry Penn, 4. Connor Broadhurst, 5. Herbie Farnsworth, 6. Zach Strasser, 7. Sean O’Sullivan, 8. Riley Leota, 9 Michael Sio, 20 Jamyne Tauoa-Brown, 11. Brendan Frei, 12. Nixon Putt, 13. Brendan Lee, 10. Ethan Bullemor, 14. Calum Gaham, 15. Jordan Riki, 18. Brad Lupi. Coach: Rohan Smith.
Head-to-head: Norths 24, Ipswich 19, drawn 2.