Barba hat-trick inspires Jets

MARMIN Barba is back baby.

The flying Jets winger scored a brilliant hat-trick in his side’s 34-12 Intrust Super Cup away win over Tweed Heads Seagulls to catapult Ipswich into third spot on the ladder on for and against.

The Jets will now wrap up third or fourth with a home win over Sunshine Coast on Saturday at home.

Barba, who had a heart scare earlier in the season, was unstoppable as Ipswich won at Piggabeen for just the second time in 16 years.

“Marmin was really slick,” Jets co-coach Shane Walker said.

“He scored his tries through sheer speed.

“With one of them they kicked through and Carlin Anderson picked it up and found Marmin and he ran 90 metres to score.

“Leva Li, who played for the Titans last week, was marking him on the wing.

“He’s no slouch but Marmin was too fast.

“Marmin’s first game back (from illness) he was half a metre off his top speed but to the naked eye he looks faster than what he was.

“The heart was pumping on all eight cylinders.”

Centre Richard Pandia scored a double and was outstanding in defence in the centres after coming in for the injured Chris Walker.

“And Richard did a really good job,” Shane Walker said.

“He scored our opening two tries with great footwork and determined running.”

Fullback Carlin Anderson booted five goals and the Broncos-bound star was also in fine form.

Prop Rod Griffin was a tower of strength and five-eighth Josh Cleeland was a handful.

The Jets have leaked points in recent weeks but rectified their defensive issues.

“The really pleasing thing was that we did some extended periods of defence on our own line and looked really solid,” Walker said.

“Everyone is working really hard for each other.

“We’d done a lot of work on our defence.

“It was really good that we boosted our for and against which has elevated us into third.”

Captain Keiron Lander and forward Sam Martin, celebrating his 100th cup game, both returned from injury and suspension respectively.

“They both came off the bench and played well,” Walker said.

“Keiron hurt his wrist early on and didn’t play as much time as we would have liked him to.”

The Jets will face a tough contest on Saturday with the Sunshine Coast Falcons boasting Melbourne Storm players and being in good form.

“They nearly beat the Blackhawks and I think they have six to eight Melbourne guys playing for them,” Walker said.