Jets remain in finals hunt after Winton wonder win
A MAGICAL mystery tour by plane through regional Queensland culminated in the Ipswich Jets beating Townsville 22-20 in Winton to keep their Intrust Super Cup finals hopes alive.
It was one of the bravest wins in Jets recent history against the odds after their plane was delayed at Brisbane Airport on match day for being too heavy.
In an extraordinary turn of the events, a passenger had to be left behind, although thankfully not Tyson Lofipo who had another barnstorming game at prop.
Ipswich Jets CEO Jason Cubit spoke to the QT from Winton where he explained why the game was delayed an hour until 7pm on Saturday night.
"We were meant to leave at 9am but didn't fly out until 10.20am because the plane was overloaded so we spent over an hour longer in Brisbane than we were supposed to,” Cubit said.
"We had to leave behind the media advisor of the Sports Minister Mick de Brenni. We were 100 kilos overweight and that is what he weighed, plus his stuff.
"The State Government chipped in funding for the Get in the Game Country Week round so he was on our plane.
"We were supposed to refuel at Barcaldine but we ended up refuelling at Charleville, which was a welcome pit stop for Luke Capewell and Michael Purcell who had some family meet us at the airport.”
The Jets then got out of the plane while the aircraft refuelled. They arrived late in Winton but had enough fuel in their own tanks to prevail. After an early Blackhawks try to Jordan Drew the Jets hit back in the 15th minute with a typical Lofipo try.
"He charged through four defenders, used a bit of footwork and was just too big and strong to score under the posts,” Cubit said.
Jets centre Marion Seve is playing some of his best footy at the back end of the year and three minutes later the Broncos-contracted flyer scored one of the best tries you will see.
"The ball shifted to the right and Marion came back in towards the middle of the field, did a hit and spin and went through about six blokes to score,” Cubit said.
"It was a great try and he was just too strong.”
The Jets led 12-4 at the break before the Black- hawks took a 20-12 lead with three tries in the opening nine minutes after the break to Blake Leary, Sione Lousi and Jonathon Reuben.
The score remained that way until the 61st minute when Ipswich prop Nat Neale stormed over. The Jets hit the lead again, and retained it, after hooker Luke Capewell stamped his authority.
"That was all class from Luke,” Cubit said.
"He just got on the outside of his defender and sliced through and his try virtually won us the game.”
Lofipo and Neale are proving to be a powerful force up front for the Jets. Lofipo, who was the Jets' players' player, said that connection has a long history.
"Nat was one of the groomsmen at my wedding and we have a close relationship. He used to live with me for a year as well,” he said.
"Nat always gives it his all. His 50 per cent is someone else's 100 per cent and he is playing good footy at the moment.”
Lofipo said the team didn't panic when they fell behind.
"We knew if we play the brand of footy that we play, that everything would work out,” he said.
"It was a long trip up there but we said on Thursday that we would not let it impact our performance on game day.
"Luke Capewell is really coming good at the moment for us. He has spiders on him. He went straight through against Easts last week as well.”
After coming back from a major knee injury last year, Lofipo said the mental demons were well behind him.
"It is a physical and mental game coming back from an injury like that, but now it has come full circle,” he said.
"I am feeling good on and off the field.”
Cubit said it was an "unreal” win for his side after the club's charter flight had to leave on Saturday.
"It is not an ideal situation to have your players sit in an airport for two hours and then be on a flight for four hours on game day, but they put that out of their mind,” Cubit said.
"It was a typical Jets win - tough and gritty and a fantastic result.”
The Jets are four points out of the top six but still in striking distance of Souths-Logan and Townsville with five rounds remaining.