Cutters tip Jets out of Queensland Cup title race
THE Ipswich Jets' Queensland Cup season is over.
The Jets lost to Mackay 27-16 at Mackay on Saturday night in the elimination semi-final.
"Pretty shattered," was how Jets captain Keiron Lander described his emotional state yesterday.
"All the emotions. It's a bit hard to take at the moment."
The Jets started well enough, scoring first after nine minutes
But four consecutive sets for the Cutters proved too much and they levelled midway through the first half.
Both teams added another before half-time to leave scores level, 10-all at the break.
The Jets successfully defended five successive sets late in the first half.
While it was heroic stuff, a completion rate below 50 percent meant they'd had to work harder than they would have liked and it appeared to take it's toll in the second half.
But Jets captain Keiron Lander denied it was the reason behind the loss. "We pride ourselves on our defence," he said.
"In other games we've had several sets against us and no-one's scored. So you can't put it down to that. It was credit to Mackay, who kept coming."
When vice-captain and halfback Ian Lacey left the field injured as the Jets trailed 24-16, it was a sign that it wasn't to be.
The Jets had been looking the stronger team but the home team was able to hold on.
Lander put the loss down to missed opportunities and some rough calls against his team.
"We bombed a couple of tries," he said. "Some calls from the officials didn't help us again.
"But it was a credit to Mackay.
"Their halves played well and their big fellas did what they needed to. It was a game that could have gone either way.
"The pressure we were under was all from Mackay's effort."
When the pain subsides, Lander's thoughts will turn towards next season, which will be his fifth at a club he believes is getting better each year.
But that does not mean looking beyond Ipswich to shop for new players. "We want to be looking within, not without," Lander said.
"Something we should strive towards is bringing young fellas through and promoting the local boys."
Minor semi-final: Mackay Cutters 27 (Bureta Faraimo 2, Liam Taylor, Kalifa FaiFai Loa tries; Liam Taylor 3, Matt Minto 2 goals; Matt Minto field goal) def Ipswich Jets 16 (Jarrod McInally, Troy O'Sullivan, Keiron Lander tries; Brendon Marshall 2 goals) at Virgin Australia Stadium. The Jets are eliminated.
The Cutters play Northern Pride on Sunday for a spot in the grand final against Easts.