Ipswich Jets are causing something of a storm in the Queensland Cup this season, with the style of rugby league that they are playing.
Rather than focusing on completion rates and wrestling in the ruck, the Jets, coached by brothers Ben and Shane Walker, look to keep the ball in hand for as long as possible.
The Jets prefer to allow their opponents quick play-the-balls, they often run backwards and sideways to find gaps, they kick off and drop out short all the time, and generally do the opposite of what the received wisdom in the NRL is.
They are also currently joint-top of the competition, despite spending less than many other teams when it comes to wages.
The stat that is most important to the Jets’ coaching team is time in possession, as Ben Walker explained.
“That is the only stat that we worry about other than the scoreboard,” he told Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph.
“That’s why I don’t care if I see our guys running backwards or sideways, as long as we’ve got the ball there’s not much chance of them scoring.”
The theory is that teams tire out much more quickly defending than attacking, so the more time that a team has the ball, the more gas they are drawing from their opponent’s tank.
“We play a very different style to anyone, anywhere,” Ben Walker added.
The Jets divested themselves of a wrestling coach four years ago, and Walker insists that quick play-the-balls for the opponent allows his team to get the ball back more quickly.
“It enables the opposition to roll through the set really quickly,” Walker explained.
“They have five hit-ups and kick to our corner and think they’ve had a good set.
“The reality is they’ve rolled through in 30 seconds and then we get it and we hold on to it for a minute or more.
“So we’re encouraging quick play-the-balls against us.”