Jets silence crowd in win over Easts
FOR 60 minutes on Saturday night, the Ipswich Jets were irrepressible.
Dane Phillips had the ball on a string. Julian Christian's darting runs around the ruck were causing fits in the opposition line.
Seb Pandia, Nat Neale and Ben Shea were running the ball at will, and Kierran Moseley was a general in attack.
Wes Conlon could do no wrong on the right edge.
But then the visitors took their foot off the Tigers' throats, and it made for a heart-stopping final five minutes.
When Phillips' perfectly-placed kick deflected off the pads for Tyson Lofipo to score unopposed under the posts, the Jets found themselves 30-10 up with just 20 to play.
But the hosts, spurred on by a vocal home crowd, did to the Jets what they have done to so many teams before.
A short kick-off to the left caught the visitors off guard, and the Tigers soon found themselves over the white line and back in the contest.
The Tigers crossed two more times in the ensuing 10 minutes, one of those again through a short kick-off, and closed the gap to a converted try with seven to play.
With Phillips' head in bandages, Marmin Barba out after five minutes with a suspected shoulder injury, and Conlon on the sidelines after he was cleaned up during a last-tackle kick, the Jets produced a resolute defence at the death.
The Tigers could not breach the Jets' line when it mattered most, and the visitors walked away with a hard-earned 32-26 win.
Ben Walker said the most important thing was leaving with the two points, but there were a number of things the group would look at in the wrap-up.
"It's two points early in the season, you take them if you can get them it doesn't matter how," he said post-match.
"At 30-10 we were well in control, and obviously we took the foot off the pedal and invited them back in. But it was a nice win."
If the Jets had come from behind to win, the immediate feeling would have been a different one. Walker could not be too critical of his side, because they did prevail against tough opposition away from home.
But there was one aspect of the Tigers' second half which irked him more than anything else.
"We don't like opposition teams pulling our pants down with the plays that we use, and they did that, so that's something we'll need to look at and try to defend better," Walker said, referring to the Tigers' successful short restarts.
"As we know, it's very difficult to defend, and Easts proved that."
With a trip to Rockhampton on Thursday to take on Dave Taylor and the CQ Capras, Walker said the team would bank the two points and look ahead to the next challenge.
"You get the two points, you have a beer and get on with it," he said.
Ipswich Jets 32 (Purcell, Conlon, Neale, Phillips, Lofipo tries; Conlon 6 goals) def. Easts Tigers 26 (McInally 2, Kaufusi, Torpy, Drinkwater tries; Torpy 2, Walters goals) at Langlands Park.