Straight Shot: Believe in Green a Marketing Dream for Jets

Photo credit: Giles Stepney

Since the Sal’s NBL introduced a competitive balance system in 2021 only one team has failed to make the finals - the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets. Sky Sport commentator Justin Nelson believes it’s time for the Jets to be bold and courageous to deliver the ultimate green dream to a loyal fanbase that deserves post-season success, not just a great night out. 

Hmmm, the Jets. Good folk, try their best, two grand finals in 30-plus years, both losses, ah well, here's to the next season.

It's almost disrespectful to talk like that, but only the Jets can turn that sort of chatter around. Fact is the losses have far outweighed the wins for far too long. Financial and performance struggles have cropped up far too often for the Jets, which, if my search engine is right, has resulted in a staggering three exits from the league since being a foundation team in 1982.

Whether we, or they, like to hear it or not, I know there are opposition teams that pencil in wins against the Jets when the schedule is released.

It shouldn't happen. But the lean years have been too frequent for the Jets and the pencil of opposition teams has been right more often than not.

However, I get the feeling the tide is starting to turn in Palmerston North as a multi-year rebuild under coach Natu Taufale and new ownership is starting to take hold.

Entering his third year at the top, Taufale has now spent two years perfecting his rebuild lingo, always pointing to a good culture and good people as the foundation of any future success the Jets will achieve. It's been his  constant message, and the correct one, delivered succinctly but with purpose and always with a smile.

Make no mistake, this is a franchise that craves success, both on and off the court. However, they value the need for financial stability and a positive culture more than the instant gratification of short terms wins that come at the expense of that stability and culture. If the foundation is stable and sound the wins will follow, I like that.

The Jets are yet to make the Finals since the full salary system started in 2021. While a strength of the league's modern competitiveness gives every team a chance to win, the Jets are yet to get the recipe right. With that said, the Jets dominate is in the stands on game day where all the  fans are loud and proud dressed up in green, oozing passion and fandom.

I love going to Palmerston North to commentate and soak in the environment and energy. It's infectious. And when they win ... WOW! The joint rocks at the worst of times, but the buzz when the green machine conquers visitors is so much fun to soak up.

For me, this is where the Jets need to be bold and courageous. Ignite the fans with talk of playoffs, step up and let the green army know that while the rebuild is ongoing, the bar has been raised and it's time to get excited.

Let the fans breathe expectation into the players, let there be a greater sense of hope and a push for the players to refuse to accept a competitive loss, much less take pride it. Don't settle for making up the numbers, those days need to be left in the rearview mirror.

The fans are a strength... feed off them.

The green army is a fan base that can be mustered quickly. The entertainment on offer at a Jets game is better than anything else in town - sorry Turbos, but it's true.

If the unbridled passion of the fans can help the Jets get over the line in two or three more games, it will likely lead to playoffs.

Wouldn't that be nice!

Let loose Jets, speak boldly, bring the green dream to town and get that green army marching as one.


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