SCORE-WISE, it looks like a comfortable win.
In reality, it wasn't but probably should have been.
The Ipswich Jets' 24-10 win over Tweed Heads at Norths Ipswich Reserve on Saturday marked their first top-four scalp the season but they made hard work of it.
The Jets started like a well-oiled machine, forcing an error from the Seagulls and converting it to points when Jarrod McInally forced his way over in the corner.
The pass to McInally from fullback Javarn White forced him to check slightly, slowing his momentum. But through strength and determination, McInally held off three defenders to score.
Just as the Jets seemed set to assert their superiority, the impression of dominance evaporated as errors gave the Seagulls possession they turned into points to lead 10-4. It was strange given the Jets' dominance in the middle of the field.
Prop Rowan Winterfield, last season's untried newcomer, has become a leader in this team through his work at the coal face.
At one point, he took two hit-ups in a set, dragging defenders forward, then made three successive tackles in the ensuing Seagulls set.
Lock-cum-halfback Keiron Lander belted anything that came near him and Lorenzo Maafu skittled defenders like nine-pins.
Their fellow forwards were equally heroic but their efforts were often wasted in the first half.
Passes into touch, a kick out on the full, a penalty kick that didn't find touch - at one stage winger Ramon Filipine, another colossus throughout, was put into touch when his afro hit the chalk.
McInally's second try provided some welcome relief and made it 10-8 to the visitors at the break.
"We did get frustrated a bit," Jets centre Luke Walker said.
"Giving away a penalty on the fifth tackle, then on the fourth, and trying to get offloads away when we shouldn't."
It might have cost a lesser team more. But the two Tweed tries aside, the Jets responded magnificently.
"Defence is our biggest thing," Walker said. "When we do hold the ball and keep it simple, we work on from there."
As the Jets cut the mistakes, Tweed's resistance waned and their discipline imploded.
With 15 minutes remaining, Jets centre Brendan Marshall took his chance, weaving between, then bumping off, defenders to score and put Ipswich in front.
The niggle had started early in the second half and escalated as the Jets got on top, with Tweed half Beau Henry sin-binned for back chat with four minutes to go.
"Things didn't go our way in the first half but we kept going," Walker said. "When their bloke went for 10, they pretty much collapsed from there. Then their grubby stuff came in."
Two more Ipswich tries followed, with McInally claiming a hat-trick, after which Walker was involved in a fight.
"After Jarrod scored, their hooker (Matt King) bumped me as I was running past," he said.
"I just said 'look at the scoreboard' and he punched me in the head. Then it was on."
Walker watched the final moments from the sin-bin, job done.
STATE OF PLAY
- Ipswich Jets 24 (Jarrod McInally 3, Brendon Marshall, Ramon Filipine tries; Brendon Lindsay 2 goals) d Tweed Heads 10 at North Ipswich Reserve.
- The win keeps the Jets in fifth, below Easts on for-and-against, and just and one point behind Tweed Heads in the coveted top three.