Jets silence critics in style
THEY said the Ipswich Jets style of football wouldn't work in finals footy.
But how wrong those critics have proved to be with the Jets securing a brilliant 28-12 preliminary final win over the PNG Hunters at Wynnum yesterday to book an Intrust Super Cup grand final appearance against the Townsville Blackhawks.
The Jets were scintillating at times. But it was the Ipswich lads' steel in defence on their own try line that had to be seen to be believed as they repelled raid after PNG raid with courage.
Nerves were on show in the first 10 minutes with PNG captain Israel Eliab kicking out on the full and Jets half Dane Phillips throwing an uncharacteristic forward pass.
But it was dynamic PNG fullback Stargroth Amean who showed great awareness to support down the middle of the field to give the Hunters a 6-0 early lead.
Jets genius then came to the fore.
Nemani Valekapa sent Marmin Barba away down the left side who kicked for a flying Carlin Anderson to scoop up the bouncing ball and go over.
The video referee ruled a double movement and what would have been another Jets highlight reel try was disallowed.
Relentless Jets pressure followed with Phillips deftly kicking for himself and following through to score.
Carlin Anderson converted and it was all tied up at 6-all midway through the first half.
PNG centre Noel Zeming landed a penalty to make it 8-6 to the Hunters.
But another brilliant short kickoff was snared by the Jets and minutes later livewire hooker Matt Parcell scooted over from dummy half. Anderson converted and the Jets led 12-8.
Then captain marvel Keiron Lander ran the ball on the last and found Phillips in support who then threw a marvellous long ball for try scoring machine Barba to cross out wide for a 16-8 lead.
What happened next was simply awe inspiring.
The Hunters pressured the Jets line and Anderson plucked the ball out of the air at full speed to race 100m to score and convert his own try on the stroke of half-time to put the Jets 22-8 ahead.
The second half started just like you'd expect with a grand final appearance on the line.
PNG dominated field position but the Jets defence was a brick wall.
Liam Capewell's genius then surfaced in the 59th minute as he broke clear down the right hand side and hit five-eighth Josh Cleeland on the chest with a magic ball.
Cleeland's try was converted by Anderson and at 28-8 ahead the Jets dared to dream.
PNG threw the kitchen sink at the Jets after that but there was no way through until the final seconds.
There were 17 heroes for the Jets. All of them did the jersey and the city proud.
Barba said he was thrilled to be in his first Intrust Super Cup grand final at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
"A lot of teams underestimate our style of play but we have stuck to it,'' he said.
"We are pulling it off each week and it has got us to the GF. I am very proud of the team.
"Today we just stuck in there and made sure we all played for each other and got the result we wanted.''
State of Play
Qld Cup preliminary final: Ipswich 28 (Carlin Anderson, Marmin Barba, Josh Cleeland, Dane Phillips, Matt Parcell tries; Carlin Anderson four goals) def PNG Hunters 12 (Stargroth Amean, Willie Minoga tries; Noel Zeming two goals).