The frustrating finals reality Cutters and Jets must face
TWO teams with drastically different styles, suffering from the same frustrating consistency issues and left with nothing but pride to play for.
When the Mackay Cutters take to North Ipswich Reserve this weekend, it will be like looking in a mirror.
Not because of how they play - their opponents are unique in that aspect - but because of how they played in key matches and moments.
At their best this season, both the Cutters and Ipswich Jets played football worthy of a finals berth.
Unfortunately neither was able to sustain their best and thus, will be left watching September action from the periphery.
For the first time in the Ben and Shane Walker era, the Jets will finish outside of the Intrust Super Cup top eight.
That does not sit right with Jets forward Ben Shea.
"It's disappointing for us and I suppose for Mackay as well; you never want to be playing dead rubber matches before the end of the year,” Shea said.
"It's disappointing that we got to this position considering the talent we've got.”
Since Round 13 the Jets have won just twice, but led in each of their six defeats and lost by a converted try or less in all bar one of those matches.
"We could be eight from eight, instead we're two from eight. We just can't seem to finish them off,” Shea said.
The two-time Wynnum Manly premiership player said it was "a strange” feeling having to draw motivation from elsewhere to get up for Saturday night's contest.
The easy answer would be to play for Ben Walker, who announced earlier this month he would step away from the coaching role at season's end.
"It's probably in the back of every player's mind; you don't want to finish on a low for him,” Shea said.
"I think the individual has to find that internal motivation not to put the cue in the rack.”
When Mackay hosted the Jets in Round 12, the visitors took a 14-point win back to Ipswich.
Shea expects the Cutters to be out for redemption and welcomes the challenge.
"We expect Mackay will want to do the same to us; come to our home ground, cause an upset and finish their season on a high,” Shea said.