IPSWICH Jets’ finals destiny remains in their own hands despite a 40-22 Intrust Super Cup loss to the PNG Hunters in Papua New Guinea.
The Jets are in fifth position on 30 points, but have the Hunters breathing down their necks on 29 points with three rounds to go.
The Jets have a bye this week and then finish with Northern Pride (away) and Redcliffe (home).
The match against Papua New Guinea was closer than the scoreline indicated with the Jets trailing 28-22 late in the second half before the Hunters scored two late tries.
The Jets led 20-6 at half-time with Brendon Marshall and Marmin Barba both notching doubles.
But the hosts were superb in the second stanza and kept Ipswich tryless while running in six tries of their own.
“They played pretty well in the second half and we probably weren’t as good as we should have been,” Jets co-coach Ben Walker said.
“But it was a really good effort by everyone and a really good learning experience … for a lot of the younger players especially.”
Walker said his players would benefit from the experience.
“They will get a lot of confidence out of that game,” he said.
“For most of our blokes, it was their first time up there. I’m sure they will get a lot out of it.”
Kurtis Lingwoodock, Billy McConnachie and Keiron Lander defended well in the forwards while Matt Parcell was exceptional out of dummy half.
Walker said the players would get a break ahead of the bye.
“They can do their own stuff, but there is no training with the team,” he said.
“It was a long trip. A three-hour flight, then there is a five-hour sit over in the airport and another hour and a half to get to where we played.
“It has taken a lot out of us.
“The boys will have a week off, get fresh and then have two weeks of footy leading into the semis.
“If we win two, we are a guaranteed (of playing finals). If we win one, we are a fair chance.
“It is certainly in our hands.”
State of play
Qld Cup: PNG Hunters 40 (Jason Tali 3, Garry Lo, Adex Wera, Wartovo Puara, Willie Minoga tries; Noel Zemming 5, Israel Eliab goals) def Ipswich Jets 22 (Brendon Marshall 2, Marmin Barba 2 tries; Marmin Barba 3 goals) at Kalabond Oval, Kokopo.
The Ipswich Jets remain in fifth spot despite their latest defeat.