Published via the QT website 13/04/2015
WHEN he looks at their position on the Intrust Super Cup ladder, Jets co-coach Ben Walker doesn’t worry about the manner his team has won five games in six rounds.
While the statistics weren’t pretty again yesterday, the high-flying Jets continue to find a way to win, beating Norths Devils 24-18 at Bishop Park.
Ipswich had their backs against the wall when trailing the Devils 18-12 with 21 minutes remaining.
However, they recovered to seal an unfashionable yet gritty win with two long-range tries in back-to-back sets saving their skin.
The Jets have strung together five on the trot, with three of those wins decided by six points or less.
Yesterday’s triumph was achieved without their main strike weapon Marmin Barba, who was a late withdrawal through illness.
The win ensured the Jets remain equal first on the competition table despite yet to put together a complete performance.
“Errors are errors; everyone makes them and I’ve never seen a perfect game of footy,” was Walker’s take on the scrappy football his side produced.
“That doesn’t concern me too much. Each week they stand up and get the points.
“I don’t mind how they get them as long as they do.”
While the Jets have built a reputation in recent weeks as a front-running side which can blow teams off the park in the first half, the win was against the grain.
Ipswich showed finals-like determination and relied on their stout defence to keep themselves in the contest.
The Devils, with 55% of possession and a 9-5 penalty count in their favour, threw everything but the kitchen sink at Ipswich.
Norths only held a lead as large as six points for 15 minutes of the clash.
Norths’ inability to break down the Ipswich defence led to fundamental mistakes at crucial times, both in the first half when the Jets successfully repelled continuous Devils raids and when panic set in late in the contest.
The notoriously carefree Jets team is starting to embrace the grind and Walker concedes it is the style of football that will carry them into the finals.
“We had to work a bit harder today and we showed we can come from behind because we are a classy outfit,” he said.
“It’s something the players are all aware is under no circumstance should we worry about scoring because we’re going to score a lot of tries each week.
“Norths had a lot more possession and we defended for eight minutes extra, but we did enough to win it.
“We handled the pressure well and once again there’s a tremendous amount of belief within the group.”
As a result of their defensive work and error-prone effort, the Jets were dull in attack until two pieces of individual brilliance turned the game.
First centre Nemani Valekapa exploded through the line and dashed 60m to put the ball under the post and level the scores in the 61st minute.
Two minutes later, backrower Sam Martin produced an inspired run from the restart to set up fullback Carlin Anderson for what turned out to be the match-winner.
Jets captain Keiron Lander praised his team’s toughness, but said they made it difficult for themselves.
“I don’t think we escaped with one as I have full confidence in our defence, but it was good to see our character turn up,” he said.
State of play
The Ipswich Jets moved into second on the Queensland Cup ladder after yesterday’s win. They are on the same points as Townsville and Mackay (10 each).
Ipswich Jets 24 (Carlin Anderson, Nemani Valekapa, Brandon McGrady, Dane Phillips tries; Carlin Anderson 4 goals) def Norths Devils 18 (Krys Freeman, Brett Greinke, Max Seumanutafa tries; Sam Foster 3 goals) at Bishop Park.
Other Qld Cup results: Northern Pride d Redcliffe 18-16, Mackay Cutters d CQ Capras 14-12, Wynnum Manly d PNG Hunters 36-18, Easts d Burleigh 22-20, Townsville d Souths Logan 46-20, Sunshine Coast d Tweed Heads 28-24.
FOGS Colts: Wynnum Manly 16 (Jordan Elisia, Joshua Marshman, Sam Gee tries; Braydon Mitchell, Joshua Marshman goals) def Ipswich Jets 14 (Daniel Jennings, Shaye Lund, Derek Oram tries; Dale McDonald goal) at BMD Kougari Oval.
Mal Meninga Cup: Ipswich Jets 36 (Matthew Betteins 2, Kyle Gilloway, Samual Dixon, Adrian Elder, Jesse Matafeo tries; Adrian Elder 6 goals) def Souths Logan 8 (Reece Manning, Syd Smith tries) at Brandon Park, Acacia Ridge.
Cyril Connell Cup: Souths Logan 34 (David Fifita 2, Kea Pere, Moeaki Fotuaika, Zane Wallace, Albert Liki tries; Albert Liki 5 goals) def Ipswich Jets 14 (Lorenzo Mulitalo, Anthony Meleisia, Brandon Russell tries; Ronaldo Mulitalo goa) at Brandon Park, Acacia Ridge.