By Lance Jenkinson
Western Jets have displayed their best and their worst in a wildly contrasting opening two rounds in the NAB League.
First-year Jets coach Ryan O’Keefe could not have been prouder of his players after the fight they showed to come back from 19 points down at three-quarter time to beat the Northern Knights in the season opener.
That hunger disappeared on Sunday as they succumbed to Eastern Ranges by 63 points in a lifeless showing at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
O’Keefe could tell from early on that his side was not up for the contest as it was the week before.
The Jets trailed by a massive 49 points before Zen Christofi finally got their first goal.
“We just didn’t turn up to play – it’s as simple as that,” O’Keefe said. “Eastern came out and played a much better brand of footy. It came down to effort really.”
O’Keefe played 286 games at the highest level with the Sydney Swans and represented Victoria in state of origin and Australia in international rules.
One of his trademarks was consistency from week to week – and that’s something he is trying to drill into his players.
“You’ve got to be able to be consistent because as soon as you drop your effort levels, no matter who you’re playing against, you’re going to get found out,” he said.
Western Jets will come face to face with arch-rivals Calder Cannons at Rams Arena on Saturday. O’Keefe downplayed any suggestion the Jets may have a little extra fight because they are coming up against their main foe.
“After what we dished up this week, hopefully the players want to improve and get better regardless of who we’re playing this week,” he said.
There is one player who has been a mark of consistency for the Western Jets in the opening two weeks and across pre-season.
Joshua Kellett, a potential Western Bulldogs father-son, has been outstanding across half-back.
Darcy Cassar found some form in defence, while Christofi and Kyle Borg were dangerous in attack.
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