The Northern Jets have one foot in the Farrer League finals and it isn’t coincidence.
While the fifth spot in the finals has seldom gone to team capable of making waves in September, that could change if the Jets lock up a finals berth in the coming weeks.
Coach Josh Avis always knew potential of his team, and isn’t content with just scraping into the post-season football.
“We really don’t want to rest on our laurels and be happy to scrap and claw for wins,” Avis said.
We want to be a top four side. Our goal was to make the top five and now we want to move into the top three and remain there for the next four or five years.”
But if recent performances are anything to go off, the Jets could be even closer to that goal than previously expected.
After defeating North Wagga earlier in the year, Avis believes last week’s win against The Rock Yerong Creek has firmly established the Jets as a team capable of beating anyone on their day.
“We’ve been able to take two top four scalps and it creates that belief that we are moving toward being that calibre of team we want to be,” he said.
If we keep playing that brand of footy with the type of people we have around the place, we’re really going to be an attractive club to play at and play for.”
A big component of the Jets resurgence in 2021 has been a happy accident, and a silver lining out of the COVID crisis and the Riverina’s ability to persist with footy, against all odds.
“In a weird way, COVID probably has helped us out a little bit if we’re being honest.
We probably have some players who really could be knocking on the door of playing some higher quality footy but given everything that’s happening in the bigger cities and even the border, playing around here is pretty appealing right now.
Obviously when the time is right for them, we want them to pursue the best footy they can but we have been helped out in that regard.”
But the strength of this Jets team is perhaps the variety of players at their disposal. No longer solely reliant on the individual brilliance of a handful, Avis is quickly establishing a group of players that know each other’s strengths, and more importantly, their weaknesses.
“The young boys are finding out that they don’t have to all go out and be Mitch Haddrill’s, Matt Wallis’ and Sam Fishers to be successful.
Charlie McCormack and Sammy Clemson have been really impressive and Nathan Tice is another rugby league boy who is just a good hard working farm boy who just loves improving every week.
We just have a group of good young kids who are really committed to impacting the game, in whatever way that may be.”
For now, the Jets have their crosshairs locked in on another top three scalp, and a clean sweep against the reigning Farrer League premiers.
“We got the jump on North Wagga last time, so we have no doubt they’ll be coming out with a point to prove and be keen to shut us down early on.”