Jets assess injury crisis after epic Cup victory
IT was one of the most brutal Intrust Super Cup encounters the Ipswich Jets have played in, finishing the match with 12 men.
But it was also among the most satisfying.
"I've been involved in over 200 matches now and that's certainly one of the very best wins we've ever had,'' Jets co-coach Ben Walker said proud of his team's mighty effort.
Beating 2018 state league champions Redcliffe Dolphins at their home base is an achievement any time.
But when the Jets held on to win 20-12 having been decimated by injury, it was a historic night at Dolphin Oval.
"We've got a hell of a team. We know that,'' Walker said.
"We are super skilful and all the rest of it but last night we had five injuries and ended up with 12 men on the field against the reigning premiers.
"We know we've got an amazing amount of resolve and resilience and toughness about our team.
"That's equally as impressive with the skill that they showed last night.''
The Jets won the physical battle with Redcliffe but were left with a mounting injury toll to assess at training this week.
Fulback Michael Purcell broke his arm, lock Rowan Winterfield has a damaged medial ligament, centre Richard Pandia was concussed, captain Nat Neale may have a cracked his cheek bone and winger Marmin Barba hurt his ankle.
All those injuries occurred mainly in the second half as the Jets battled to build on their 14-12 halftime lead.
To make matters worse, the Jets had no bench left and finished the game one player short.
"Julian Christian, our five-eight who had a really, really good game, toughed it out,'' Walker said. "He was limping around on one leg as well.
"He's done something to his ankle as well.''
Rugby league matches don't get much tougher or desperate between two heavyweight rivals who had one win from four games heading into Saturday night's confrontation.
However, Walker couldn't be more proud of his Ipswich players.
"They (Redcliffe) are a big team,'' the experienced coach said. "We fought really well.
"When you're holding onto an eight-point lead, you can easily have two tries scored on you in four minutes.''
But the tenacious Jets held firm.
Although Barba was among the injured, he kicked his 500th point before being forced from the field.
That came from a penalty goal in the fifth minute.
The speedster scored in the 23rd minute and kicked two conversions before joining the growing Jets' injury list.
"He was heavily involved, which was good to see,'' Walker said, praising Barba's latest club milestone.
Christian scored first and Jets' best player Kierran Moseley crossed for Ipswich's third, a decisive 69th minute four-pointer that sealed the memorable victory.
"We were super tough but we had some really smart plays from Kierran Moseley our hooker,'' Walker said.
"He cut them up a few times and set Marmim Barba up for a couple of tries. He was really, really good for us.
"He's an ex-NRL player and there's a reason why he's played at the higher level.
"He's just a really intelligent fella, very tough as well and in good shape this year.
"He's really fit, playing well and helping out the team enormously.''
Walker said there won't be much training done this week.
"It will just be a lot of rehab,'' he said.
The Jets return home to host Norths Devils in next Sunday afternoon's Round 6 match.
Intrust Super Cup Rd 5: Ipswich Jets 20 (Julian Christian, Marmin Barba, Kierran Moseley tries; Marmin Barba 2, Josh Cleeland conversions; Marmin Barba penalty goal) def Redcliffe Dolphins 12 (Jordan Grant, Tom Geraghty tries; Bryce Donovan conversion; Bryce Donovan penalty try) at Dolphin Oval.