AN END to the Ipswich Jets’ winning streak does not mean time for a change in approach.
The Jets’ brand of “touch footy” was made to look ineffective against an Easts Tigers’ line-up that clearly has the wood on their rivals, winning six of their past seven encounters.
Easts won 22-12 but it could easily have been more.
The Jets had plenty of territory and possession in the first half, thanks to Easts’ ill-discipline.
But the visitors were prepared for the Jets’ ploy of repeatedly turning the ball back inside to runners looking for a hole.
The holes didn’t appear as the Tigers kept their defensive structure, forcing the Jets to resort to largely ineffective grubber kicks to try to score.
Only once did the grubber ploy come off, when Dane Phillips toed through and stripped the ball off the Easts player who had collected it, giving them their only try of the first half.
The half-time score was 6-6 and the Jets took the lead early in the second. But the fact their second and final try of the match came from a 90m Marmin Barba intercept was evidence of the impotence of the Jets’ attack.
Easts, on the other hand, regularly found ways through the Jets’ defence.
Easts had three tries disallowed and the Jets struggled to contain Tigers halfback Grant Geiss and rampaging prop Mitch Garbutt, each of who scored a try, with Geiss laying on another.
It was a sombre Jets dressing room after the game with Ipswich five-eighth Josh Cleeland disappointed his team had let their standards drop.
“We went down to their level and played their type of footy,” he said.
The Jets’ ad-lib razzle dazzle, which has caught many teams on the hop this year, held no surprises to the Easts’ defence.
But Cleeland denied it was time to change tactics.
“Every team is going to read what we’re doing now,” Cleeland said. “We kind of did what we intended but not as well as we should have.”
The Jets’ latest addition from the Brisbane Broncos, Martin Kennedy, saw limited game time in the second half.
The more it wore on the more dominant the visitors became as the Jets – playing catch-up – struggled to hold onto the ball.
“Everyone was trying to win it and be the star,” Cleeland said.
“We’ve got to go back to basics.”
That does not mean reverting to a more conservative game plan.
Beside Cleeland in the sheds, winger Kurt Capewell shook his head at the suggestion the Jets might consider toning down their approach.
The Jets slipped to second on the Queensland Cup ladder, behind the Northern Pride on points scored for-and-against.
State of Play
Queensland Cup: Easts Tigers 22 (Eddie Tautali, Grant Giess, Tom Butterfield, Mitch Garbutt tries; Donald Malone 2, Liam Tyson goals) def Ipswich Jets 12 (Dane Phillips, Marmin Barba tries; Wes Conlon 2 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve; Northern Pride d Burleigh 26-10, Tweed Heads d CQ Capras 42-12, Souths Logan d Mackay 42-22, Redcliffe d Sunshine Coast 34-14, Norths d PNG Hunters 32-24.
FOGS Cup: Easts Tigers 12 (Dane Chang, Tom Ingersole tries; Leone Cama 2 goals) def Ipswich Jets 0.
FOGS Colts: Ipswich Jets 28 (Daniel Nolan 2, Daniel Jennings, Dale McDonald, Sean Hams tries; Dale McDonald 4 goals) def Easts 18 (Brodie Sharman, Jayden Reynolds, Connor Jones tries; Mitch Treleavan 3 goals).