Jets eye finals as Tigers tamed
THE Ipswich Jets' gritty win over Easts yesterday indicated they are on track for the Queensland Cup semi-finals.
The Jets started the match like it was a semi-final, then showed finals determination in defence late in the game to hold of the fast-finishing Tigers 22-18.
The Jets showed they meant business with three tries in the first 25 minutes, opening up a 16-0 lead and going into halftime ahead 16-6.
"Very happy," was Ipswich Jets captain Keiron Lander's take on his team's opening spell.
"We completed our sets, kicked to the corners and a couple of those led to tries. We could have been further ahead with a couple of opportunities.
"But our defence was strong."
A good start was imperative this time to drain some of the energy from the big Easts forwards and the Jets did it well.
"We were finding our front and getting quick play-the-balls," Lander said.
"They're a good pack.
"Starting well is something you always want to do.
"If you're on in defence, you put yourself in a position to start well."
The Jets' defence helped them dictate from the start but it also kept them in it when they were down to 12 men late in the match.
It was 22-12 to the Jets when fullback Javarn White was sin-binned for a professional foul with 11 minutes remaining.
The Tigers took it as an invitation back into the game and a converted try with White off the field made for a nail-biting finish.
"We dug deep," Lander said.
"Especially Sully (Troy O'Sullivan), who made some necessary tackles.
"They were coming at us and had all the momentum.
"We were making good metres but would then try a silly off-load or lose the ball in the play-the-ball.
"It is something we need to get better at."
Lander is confident such errors can be easily addressed and feels his team's game is taking shape at the right time with finals looming.
Ironically, it was by not making the match about revenge against Easts that they were able to produce their best.
"I don't think we were fired up to beat Easts," Lander said.
"We were fired up to play well and get things right.
"I think last time we played them, we were more worried about Easts."
Lander (pictured) praised his forward pack for setting the standards and rated it as Brisbane Broncos-dual signed prop Martin Kennedy's best game for the Jets.
The win ensured the Queensland Cup top five became even more clustered behind runaway leader Northern Pride.
The Jets remain fifth, equal with Wynnum Manly but behind them due to an inferior points differential.
Easts sit just a point ahead, two points behind second-placed Tweed Heads. The Jets return home on Saturday to take on eighth-placed Mackay.