It may not have been visible to everyone; but if you looked you could see it yesterday at Lang Park. If you were a Jets’ player who kept picking themselves up off the ground and if you were a Jets’ fan who had waited for so long to hear that final siren.
If you stopped and watched you could see 563 men on the field for the Jets; from Greg Quinn to Chris Ash. 563 men who whenever a Jet was busted whenever a Jet couldn’t find breath 563 men were in their ear- get up one more set.
The day started at the Jets’ home ground at 12pm when the bus pulled away with staff and players on their way to Red Hill. The Jets assembled in the viewing area at the Broncos and watched the Blackhawks; Ben and Shane Walker calmly explained this is what the Blackhawks will do and this is what we do. The Jets then watched a video presentation of Jets’ football- this is what we do.
Manchester United has Old Trafford as their field of dreams; but for any kid growing up in Queensland our field of dreams is Lang Park. When it is September and the sun is shining that’s where you want to be.
The Jets first 10 minutes was nervous and jittery; the Townsville side got off to a great start when Tom Humble scored. No sign of panic from the Jets.
The Jets answered with a try to Dane Phillips; the Jets had been camped down in their end doing plenty of tough work. Suddenly Nemani Valekapa takes the ball on the left and finds Marmin Barba in space.
Back inside Dane Phillips and Matt Parcell chase Marmin; 563 men saying chase your chance might come.
80 metres later Marmin gets a pass overhead to Dane Phillips to score his 10th try this year and have the Jets in front 6-4.
Marmin Barba, gets plenty of credit for his 30 tries but little credit for the hard chases he does, Barba got down to fullback Jahrome Hughes and forced him into an error that Barba capitalised on and the Jets had taken 12-4 lead- 563 voices driving him; chase the kick.
Zac Santo answered back with his 31st try in the right hand corner and it was 12-8 after the Blackhawks had missed both kicks.
All year the Jets haven’t been happy to take the tackle and go to the break why should a Grand Final be any different.
Carlin Anderson sweeps round and while the Blackhawks have nightmares about what Barba was doing Anderson scores to take the Jets to 16-8 at half time.
The short kick off started the second half and the Jets regained the ball and retiring captain Keiron Lander picked his body up and got to the play throwing his body on the ball in front of Blackhawks’ players after some typically smart kicking from Dane Phillips.
Hughes got one back after his error and got the Blackhawks within 10 points at 24-14. A Jets’ penalty had the Jets back out to 12 points.
Robert Lui dribbled one passed the line of defence and got there first to have the score at 26-20 with 6 minutes to go.
563 men- 6 minutes of work- keep going.
Matt Parcell scooted through the line and scored a record 11 Finals tries in his career while retiring captain Keiron Lander kicked the conversion to have the Jets up 32-20 with seconds to go.
Then it was full time; down to 15 men, against a side off full time professionals with 637 NRL games. The Jets had ended 33 years of waiting.
563 men said job done.
IPSWICH JETS 32 (Carlin Anderson, Marmin Barba, Nemani Valekapa, Dane Phillips, Matt Parcell, Keiron Lander tries; Carlin Anderson 2, Marmin Barba, Keiron Lander goals) def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 20 (Jahrome Hughes, Zac Santo, Tom Humble, Robert Lui tries; Robert Lui 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium
Townsville Blackhawks:1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Zac Santo 3. Tom Humble 4. Mosese Pangai 5. Samsen O’Neill 6. Robert Lui 7. Michael Parker-Walshe 8. Glenn Hall 9. Anthony Mitchell 10. Daniel Beasley (c) 11. Rhyse Martin 12. Kelepi Tanginoa 13. Neville Costigan 15. Lorenzo Ma’afu 16. Chris McLean 18. Rhys Matsen 19. Ricky Thorby
Ipswich Jets: 1. Carlin Anderson 2. Marmin Barba 3. Liam Capewell 4. Nemani Valekapa 5. Richard Pandia 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips 8. Josh Seage 9. Matt Parcell 10. Rod Griffin 11. Sam Martin 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Keiron Lander (c) 14. Landon Hayes 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock 16. Billy McConnachie 22. Fakahoko Teutau
Duncan Hall Medal for Man of the Match:Billy McConnachie – Ipswich Jets