Wayne Bennett keeping close eye on one of the Ipswich Jets

Article Courtesy of the QT and Jay Buchan

Ipswich beat new team Townsville Blackhawks 36-24 at the North Ipswich Reserve.

With Wayne Bennett in the stands taking notes on how to play footy (if you believe a tongue in cheek Ben Walker), the Jets played irresistible football in the first half to lead 24-0 at half time.

But after the break they lost the plot, slipping back into the errors and penalties that cost them the win the previous week against Wynnum Manly.

In the end they did enough to get home, despite the Blackhawks scoring 20 unanswered points in the opening 18 minutes of the second half.

It was the second successive weekend Broncos NRL coach Bennett had been at North Ipswich running his eye over the talent.

Depending on who you were talking to, Bennett was there to see Daniel Vidot, Carlin Anderson, Matt Parcell or Chris Walker.

It was 35-year-old right centre Walker who crossed for the Jets first try with a show and go to indicate he is getting closer to top pace and form.

Parcell got the second, bamboozling the Hawks defence from dummy half.

It was a vastly improved performance from Parcell compared to the previous weekend and justified those who have said he is close to Broncos selection.

However none were likely to have impressed more than Jets left centre Nemani Valekapa.

For the second weekend, Vale- kapa scored a try after making a bust up the left hand side from his own half, passing to support then backing-up to take the final pass.

It is the former Fiji inter- national’s third season in the Jets.

Valekapa, as much as anyone in the competition, looks to have earned himself a chance in the NRL.

Valekapa played a crucial role when Fassifern won the 2011 Ipswich Rugby League A-grade title.

From there he joined the Jets and has continued to grow as a player.

He admits this is the best he has ever played.

“All those days at pre-season have been good,” Valekapa said.

“All the hard work is paying off.

“I’ve been learning a lot from the coaches.”

The 28-year-old admits he still harbours hopes of playing in the NRL. He hopes Bennett liked what he saw.

“That’s what I’m here for,” he said, referring to his decision five years ago to leave his native Fiji and move to Kalbar to joined the Bombers. “Hopefully I can continue to improve my football with the Jets and see what comes.”

State of play

Ipswich Jets 36 (Nemani Valekapa 2, Matt Parcell 2, Chris Walker, Kurt Capewell tries; Wes Conlon 6 goals) def Townsville Blackhawks 24 (Zac Santo, Wayne Ulugia, Mosese Pangai, Rhys Matsen, Tom Humble tries; Tom Humble 2 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.