Jets savour reward after playing for each other
THE glint in Josh Cleeland's eye indicated the sense of relief the Ipswich Jets players felt after breaking their 2021 Intrust Cup season drought.
The Ipswich born and bred five-eight responded with his trademark team-minded approach when asked what best summed up Saturday's 40-24 victory over the Central Queensland Capras at North Ipswich Reserve.
"There was a lot of emotion when we lost four in a row so it was good to get the win with the boys,'' Cleeland said.
"Most satisfying is we are working together. We are not going ourselves. We're making sure we are playing for each other.
"All those little things. That's what wins games and big games so it was very pleasing.''
The Jets breakthrough result was built on the back of more organised attack and six different tryscorers in Ratu Rotavisoro, Richard Pandia, Julian Christian, Blake Lenehan, Jayden Connors and Cleeland.
"That was very pleasing,'' Cleeland said.
"We always knew we had the attack there. We just needed to defend and hold the ball so we can attack.''
Cleeland's second half try was one of the best, breaking through the Capras defence before completing his runaway dash across the line.
Converting his own effort lifted the Jets lead to 28-14 at a crucial stage of the game.
While happy he "got the cookies'' with the Jets fifth four-pointer, Cleeland was also delighted to see fullback Jayden Connors join the Ipswich 100 point club.
"He was telling me before the game he wanted to get a conversion but he got over to score a try,'' the team's regular goalkicker said.
Jets winger Rotavisoro crossed for the first and final tries of the match.
"He was looking very sharp. It's exciting,'' Cleeland said.
The senior Jets footballer was also pleased to see centre Jordan Carriera doing what he does best - zigzagging around the opposition - after returning from a break due to concussion.
"He's got some very nice feet and he's an exciting young player so I'm happy to see what he can do,'' Cleeland said.
Cleeland shared what he thought made the difference in Saturday's game.
"We just scraped it back to basics,'' the former West End Bulldogs and Norths Tigers footballer said.
"We've been pushing the pass and trying really hard but just nothing coming off.
"So we peeled it right back and we just got through our sets and get to our kick and the points will come.''
The Jets went into halftime trailing 14-10 after conceding a soft try after the siren.
However, the home side responded strongly after the break, knowing that was a needless mistake having attacked so well before that.
"We just said hang in there, we'll flash that','' Cleeland said.
"We come back out (in the second half) with the same mindset we come out in the first half and turned it on.''
Jets coach Keiron Lander was "just happy to get the points" rather than get too emotional about the result.
"I said the boys we had to fight to the end and we did,'' Lander said.
Asked if the Jets were more desperate, he answered: "We just got back to people's strengths today and we done it for longer periods.
"I'm not too concerned about the tries we score. It's how we score them.
"We worked hard, we seen some really big efforts.''
Lander praised Wilson Malaesilia for being "enormous with defence''.
"Everyone done their role which allowed us to use our interchange well and give blokes a rest but also put the senior fellas on at the right time and finish a game for us,'' Lander said.
Cleeland acknowledged it was the confidence boost the Jets needed after some promising signs without reward in the first four defeats.
"We needed a win. You can't drop five in a row,'' the Jets playmaker said.
"So it's good to turn it around with a pretty good scoreline and a lot of fans to cheer us home.''
However, Cleeland had mixed feelings about having a bye next weekend after finally producing a victory.
"It's challenging because when you got on a roll you have a week off,'' he said. "But we'll take it with any injuries.
"We'll rest up and get ready for the week after.''
That could provide one advantage with Lander concerned about the number of player cramps each week.
"If we can stop that, it will be better,'' he said.
Lander was also pleased to see Carriera back from his rest with concussion.
"He did a wonderful job actually Jordan,'' the coach said.
"He's four games into his first grade career and never played men's senior rugby league before so he'll only get better.''
Richard Pandia's "exceptional'' defence backed up his try in the first half, the type of commitment Lander expects.
"The gap between Richie's best and worst is not much,'' he said.
After Christian had a disappointing game against Easts a week earlier, he bounced back in style.
"I knew he would and he took some tough carries and he took some really tough decisions,'' Lander said.
STATE OF PLAY
IPSWICH JETS 40 (Ratu Jope Rotavisoro 2, Richard Pandia, Julian Christian, Blake Lenehan, Josh Cleeland, Jayden Connors tries; Josh Cleeland 6 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 24 (Nixon Putt 2, Jack Madden, Aaron Teroi, Jake Maizen tries; Treymaine Brown, Brandon Roberts goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.
NORTHS DEVILS 13 (Petero Nakubuwai 2 tries; Tyson Gamble, Bryce Donovan goals; Bryce Donovan 1 point field goal) def NORTHERN PRIDE 12 (Jayden Corrigan, Joshua Stuckey tries; Jake Clifford 2 goals) at Barlow Park.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 60 (Isaiah Tass 2, Jack Goodsell 2, John Asiata, Anthony Milford, Albert Kelly, Christian Hazard, Creedence Toia, Kobe Hetherington, Karmichael Hunt tries; Isaiah Tass 8 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 10 (Matiu Stone-Dunn, Blake Paskins tries; Jack Quinn goal) at BB Print Stadium.
TWEED SEAGULLS 28 (Joseph Vuna, Jayden Campbell, Ethan O'Neill, Lindon McGrady, Herman Ese'ese tries; Lindon McGrady 4 goals) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 16 (Jeremy Hawkins, Jackson Frei, Brayden Dee tries; Justin Worley 2 goals) at Moreton Daily Stadium.
BURLEIGH BEARS 25 (Beau Fermor 3, Luke Page, Api Noema-Matenga tries; Guy Hamilton, Josh Rogers goals; Guy Hamilton 1 point field goal) def PNG HUNTERS 18 (Jokadi Bire, Norman Brown, Brandon Nima, Terry Wapi tries; Charlie Simon goal) at Pizzey Park.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 24 (Matthew Milson 2, BJ Aufaga-Toomaga, Nat McGavin tries; Todd Murphy 4 goals) def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 16 (Nathan Barrett 2, Carlin Anderson tries; Shaun Nona 2 goals) at Jack Manski Oval.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 22 (Edward Burns, Sebastian Winters-Chang, Luke Bateman, Jayden Berrell tries; Jack Campagnolo 3 goals) def BRISBANE TIGERS 14 (Dean Ieremia 2, Dan Russell tries; Aaron Booth goals) at Totally Workwear Stadium.