Jets real deal for title shot

(Thanks to the QT, Sarah Harvey and Jay Buchan)

THE Ipswich Jets showed what they are capable of in this year’s Queensland Cup competition.

Ipswich held out ladder leaders Northern Pride 22-20 at the North Ipswich Reserve in a gutsy effort that underlines their presence in the list of title contenders.

The Jets dominated early on Saturday and the first try was brought about by defensive pressure.

When the Pride coughed it up, skipper Keiron Lander pounced and bolted 60m to score.

“It was good to watch,” teammate Jacob Ling said.

“You need those opportunistic tries. You’ve got to take every chance you can get.”

The second try was a Donald Malone masterpiece.

But if Duck’s individual brilliance shone, it was the committed contribution across the board that earned the home team the two competition points.

The forwards took collective responsibility for subduing the Pride pack with big hits, while the defensive line-speed was a constant source of frustration for the Pride.

A strong surge by Nat Neale, followed by a rampaging Ling, that gave the Jets momentum three minutes before half-time.

Ling linked with Rod Griffin, who slipped a skilful flick-pass to support to have the Pride scrambling.

Next play Malone beat Pride captain and former Queensland State of Origin player Ty Williams with class, chipped ahead and dived to ground the ball.

The Jets were well worth their 10-4 half-time lead, but the Pride shocked the home team from the second half kick-off, scoring on their first set inside a minute.

Ipswich regained the upper hand to lead 16-8 but the Pride had the strike power to land regular blows and led 20-16 with 25 minutes left.

“We went into half-time and felt pretty confident we could get them,” Ling said.

“I think their first two quick tries were a bit of a slap in the face for us and a wake-up call.”

Ipswich lifted, flooding the Pride defence with enthusiastic runners.

Kurtis Lingwoodock was the one who finally crashed over when Ian Lacey put him through a hole, fullback Javarn White the ever-enthusiastic decoy runner.

Malone’s conversion put the Jets ahead 22-20 and they held on.

“The last few weeks we’ve been in similar positions,” Ling said.

“Close enough to get the points.

“But we were never going to roll over and let them beat us. We stuck with the theories Ben and Shane (Walker) have instilled in us.”

The good news is the Jets have room for improvement.

Their handling was better than the Pride’s, but there were slack moments and they won’t be happy with the way their central defence was twice opened-up for second half Pride tries.

“It’s something to be conscious of,” Ling said.

“We were getting up too quick without establishing dominance.

“It comes down to the wrestle on the ground and letting the boys gets back and get set.”

For the most part, Ipswich did it exceptionally well.

The Jets sit in ninth spot but only two points out of a competition lead shared by five teams. The Jets travel to Rockhampton to play the Central Capras on Saturday.

In the FOGS Cup, Norths beat Ipswich 30-24. In Colts, the Jets downed Norths 26-20.