Jets hone in on finals berth
THE Ipswich Jets have launched themselves back into finals contention with a spirited 34-20 win over the Central Queensland Capras.
Just six weeks ago the Ipswich Jets were lost in the wilderness of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, with only three victories from 12 rounds of football.
Now the defending premiers are back on track and chasing a top six finish after recording a third straight victory for the first time this season.
Jets captain Dane Phillips admitted spirits were high after another strong performance at North Ipswich Reserve.
“It wasn’t clinical but we’re winning so that’s the main thing,” Phillips said.
“Confidence is a big thing and we are starting to get it back. As soon as you are confident you can start making those extra plays pay off.”
Appropriately it was the Jets Indigenous trio who inspired the important win in front of a bumper crowd celebrating the club’s Aboriginal Appreciation round.
Big Billy McConnachie threw his weight into the Capras defence and was rewarded with a try in the opening stages.
Speedster Michael Purcell continued his incredible run with a try in each half.
A fired-up Wes Conlon could do no wrong with the boot, adding five conversions and two penalty kicks.
The Capras opened the scoring through fullback Reece Baker, but it was the Jets who held the lead for most of the game.
Tries to winger Nemani Valekapa and forward Nat Neale capped the final score, but it was the indigenous trio who impressed their captain the most.
“On a big day like this the peacocks get their feathers out and the boys got the job done,” Phillips said.
“The likes of Wes Conlon and Michael Purcell love these days. As Wes said during the week, it’s like their grand final it means so much to them.
“It’s good for us to be able to help them out but they are unreal.”
An upset win against the table-topping Townsville Blackhawks proved the turning point for the Jets who are growing in belief with every win.
“Townsville are the pinnacle of the competition,” Phillips said. “If we can go up there and beat them, then we can beat anyone.
“Confidence breeds confidence but the hard part is doing that week in week out.”
Despite missing a number of stars through injury, the defending premiers have rediscovered their winning formula under co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker.
With seven games to go, the Jets will face top four outfits Burleigh, PNG and Redcliffe in a tough run to the finals.
The Reserve grade Jets returned to the winner’s circle with a hard-fought 24-22 win over top four rivals West Brisbane.
The Jets Colts went down 34-30 to Burleigh.
State of play
Intrust Super Cup: Ipswich Jets 34 (Nemani Valekapa, Billy McConnachie, Michael Purcell 2, Nat Neale tries; Wes Conlon 7 goals) def CQ Capras 20 (Reece Baker, Brandon Manase, Justin Tavae, Adam Henry tries; Matt Minto 2 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.
BRL: Ipswich Jets 24 (Mitch Koina 2, Peter Whittaker, Tu’u Maori, Finecallum Faingaa tries; Ono So’Oialo 2 goals) def West Brisbane Panthers 22 (Michael Rasmussen, Ollie Olds, Kristian Wanka, Ben Mathao tries; Hayden Potter 3 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.
Colts: Burleigh Bears 34 (Sonny Pettybourne, Brett Stratton, Joseph Tangeria, Dylan Pelo, Denzal Ngati, Sam Clark, Thomas Sly tries; Tye Barry 3 goals) def Ipswich Jets 30 (Shannon Hicks 2, Josh Robinson, Aiden Taua 2 tries; Adrian Elder 5 goals) at Pizzey Park.