Sports

Jacks keeps mind clear, job simple in stellar Storm recall

“I didnt want to over-complicate it because there was a lot of talk about the number seven jersey and all that.

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“You have Cam Smith, Billy Slater and all these guns around you, why try to over do it? That was my thought going into the game.”

Last year he played 12 games but all of them as a stand-in for established stars; this off-season the 25-year-old was beaten out by Brodie Croft for the vacant halfback role.

Then the Storms form dropped and Crofts fell with it so Bellamy went back to the player he warmly described as “solid”.

“If someone asked you to describe Ryley Jacks on the footy field, you would say he is solid,” Bellamy said.

“You know what you are gong to get from him each and every game and I thought he was a little more than solid tonight, I thought he played really well for us.”

The Storm had league worst numbers for errors and handling errors coming into the Knights game plus their completion rate had fallen sharply.

With confidence low, the Storm pushed each other to be positive, upbeat and to “get around” each other after every play.

The ploy worked as they attacked freely from the outset and it no doubt helps that Jacks is a naturally upbeat, happy-go-lucky type person.

“They are two totally different players,” Smith said of Jacks and Croft.

“Ryley is an older player, he is more mature, has a more mature head on his shoulders and has been around the game for longer.

“In certain moments or plays, he doesnt tend to get as flustered but Craig is deadset right that we havent helped Crofty with the way we played. Thats on everyone."

For the bulk of his games last year, Jacks played at five-eighth while Cameron Munster deputised at fullback but on field he said his halfback role was very similar.

“I felt that was the same role I played with the boys last year,” Jacks said.

“I was on the right side of the field this time. So thats a bit different for me and we had three left-footers out there but it was sort of the same role. Just be the steady, calm half out there.”

Jacks knows what it is like to be on the outer and while he and Croft are competing for the same position, he knows the talented playmaker will be pushing for a recall.

“Crofty is a gun and he will get heaps better. He will go back and kill Queensland Cup,” Jacks said.

“So I know this is a shot for me and I want to try to make the most of it, hopefully I keep getting picked.”

Jacks was meant to be playing alongside brother Rhys for Sunshine Coast Falcons in the Queensland Cup this weekend but his Storm call-up delayed their reunion.

Jacks has never played an NRL game at Suncorp Stadium so he hopes he has done enough to retain his place for Fridays showdown with Brisbane Broncos.

“Its my home town so it will be good to go back up there – if I get picked for next week,” Jacks said.

“Rhys has come over from the Toronto Wolfpack. Storm should have a look at him, he's a good player. We have only played together for Canada so we were looking forward to playing with each other this week, then Craig gave me a call.

“Now I hope it doesnt happen.”

Jacks was laughing when he made that last comment, hes hoping he will be playing in front of his brother and family come Friday at Suncorp Stadium.

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Roy Ward

Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.

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