Jets escape Sunshine Coast turbulence with hard-fought win

THE Ipswich Jets were more than happy to leave the Sunshine Coast with two competition points at the weekend.

A 10-4 victory over winless cellar-dwellers Sunshine Coast was tougher than the ladder indicated for the fourth-placed Jets.

Damp conditions, a punishing penalty count and desperate opponents meant the Jets had to work hard for the win.

Recent work spent on defence paid off with the Falcons kept tryless and Jets centre Nemani Valekapa’s second half try enough to get the win.

“It was a really tough game,” Jets co-coach Shane Walker said.

“They really came prepared to get in a scrap and they’re not far away from a win.

“On a dry track we probably would have gone away from them.”

The circumstances turned it into a semi-final like grind and Walker was grateful to see his team win tough.

“I’m not sure we’ve ever kept a team tryless,” Walker said.

“In the first half we were on the back of a 10-3 penalty count.

“They had 23 sets to our nine.”

It provided plenty of drop-kicking practice from under the sticks.

“We had to drop-out four times in the first half,” Walker said.

“It was just a tough match. But we hung tough in defence. It was something we’ve worked hard on.”

Things improved for the Jets in the second half and they went close twice, both times spilling the ball with the tryline beckoning, before Valekapa got the match-winner.

“Keiron was very good again,” Walker said of his inspirational skipper and lock.

He also praised his key playmakers who kept Ipswich on top despite the tough conditions, through the halves’ kicking and hooker Matt Parcell’s vision from dummy half.

“Dane’s kicking game was good,” Walker said.

“And Josh Cleeland was the same. Matt Parcell was very dangerous again.”

The Jets have won two on the trot and play Souths Logan next at home on July 12 after the competition takes a break this coming weekend.

The Jets have to wait on injury checks on forwards Rowan Winterfield and Billy McConachie.

It was Winterfield’s first game back in the top grade and Walker marvelled at his fitness, given how long he’d been out of the game.

Ipswich Jets forward duo Kieron Lander and Rod Griffin have been chosen in the Queensland Residents team to play NSW Residents at Suncorp Stadium before State of Origin III on July 9.