Jets down Devils, secure finals berth
IPSWICH'S path to the Intrust Super Cup finals, previously winding and filled with potholes, lay paved and straight as an arrow following the Hunters' stunning upset defeat in Rockhampton on Saturday.
The reigning premiers succumbed to a shock 38-22 loss to the second-bottom Capras, leaving the door ajar for the Jets to leapfrog into the top six.
With the dominoes falling in the Jets' favour the day before, they travelled to Bishop Park this afternoon knowing a win over the Devils would secure a return to finals contention for the first time since 2015.
And win they did.
Despite surrendering an early lead when Zach Strasser crossed for the hosts, the Jets soon found themselves with the advantage.
Jayden Connors turned defence into offence when he intercepted from inside his own 10m to race the length of the field and score under the posts.
However Paul Ulberg restored the hosts' lead with a try right on the stroke of halftime.
With the Jets' season on the line, young hooker Connors again put his hand up.
Five minutes after the restart he was over to score his second of the afternoon, pulling out his trademark backflip celebration in the process.
Jets fans had more to backflip about not four minutes later, when Michael Purcell crossed to extend the visitors' lead. The four-pointer brought up Purcell's 19th of the season, equalling Wynnum's Daniel Ogden for the competition lead.
Sam Tagataese crossed to keep the Devils in the contest with 20 to play, however Marmin Barba's boot proved the difference. Barba slotted two late penalty goals to put the margin beyond a converted try, and the Jets held on for their finals lives.
The Jets will now travel to face the Townsville Blackhawks in week one of the finals.
Intrust Super Cup Round 24: Ipswich Jets 22 (J. Connors 2, M. Purcell tries; M. Barba 5 goals) def. Norths Devils 14 (Z. Strasser, P. Ulberg, S. Tagataese tries; H. Farnworth goal) at Bishop Park