Hungry Tigers stake claim with punishing win
With the match seemingly in the bag late in the second half, Easts Tigers hooker Tommy Butterfield never had to chase a grubber kick like his life depended on it.
But he did and through sheer desperation alone he somehow plucked the ball from Ipswichs grasps to score and put his Tigers outfit further in front.
Butterfields chase typified the Tigers performance yesterday as they led for all but a small period in the first half to post an impressive 38-18 victory over the Ipswich Jets at Langlands Park.
Along with Butterfield, five-eighth Cody Walker and fullback/winger Eddie Tautali regularly opened up the Jets, who have now slipped out of the top five ahead of Sundays crucial Channel 9 match against Wynnum Manly in Toowoomba.
Walker made three line breaks, while Tautali mesmerised the Jets with his blinding speed and footwork.
Tautali got the days scoring underway when he scorched down the centre of the field following a Lagi Setu bust.
Ipswich responded soon after when a set piece saw Javarn White go in almost untouched next to the posts.
However, Easts were again able to play from in front when Ben Hampton threw a lovely pass to Storm club mate Mahe Fonua.
Ipswich hit back following a great solo effort from Nat Neale, who took advantage of an off-side Tigers defender to score from a tap kick.
Donald Malone added the extra two points for a 12-10 lead, but that was the last time the Jets held the advantage on the scoreboard.
After a charge down handed the Tigers a repeat set of six, the home team was good enough to put points on the board three minutes before half-time courtesy of a neat run on the left edge from Matthew Zgrajewski.
In the second half, the Tigers punished Ipswichs errors with quick-fire tries from firstly Tautali and then veteran Isaac Kaufmann.
With a comfortable 26-12 lead, it was only a piece of individual brilliance from Malone that kept the Jets in the hunt.
However, Ipswichs unlikely comeback bid was quickly snuffed out by Butterfields brilliance, as the Tigers went onto to record their ninth win of the season.
Easts coach Craig Ingebrigtsen was forced to make an early reshuffle after losing replacement centre Michael Kai and back-rower Dane Hogan with injuries in the first half.
Ipswichs quest to halt a worrying slide down the ladder also wasnt helped by the withdrawal of Ian Lacey and the absence of hooker Matt Parcell.
QRL TV caught up with Tigers coach Craig Ingebrigtsen after their win. This video is coming soon!
EASTS TIGERS 38 (Eddie Tautali 2, Maeli Seve, Mahe Fonua, Tom Butterfield, Matthew Zgrajewski, Isaac Kaufmann tries; Cody Walker 5 goals) def IPSWICH JETS 18 (Javarn White, Donald Malone, Nathaniel Neale tries; Donald Malone 3 goals) at Langlands Park.
Meanwhile, the Northern Pride are a step closer to the Intrust Super Cup minor premiership after beating the Sunshine Coast 50-16 at Barlow Park on Saturday night.
Semi Tadulala grabbed a hat-trick, while Wayne Ulugia impressed in the fullback role with two tries of his own.
Residents fullback Hezron Murgha is set to return for this weekend's match to be held in his home town of Yarrabah.
NORTHERN PRIDE 50 (Semi Tadulala 3, Wayne Ulugia 2, Kyle Feldt, Brett Anderson, Aidan Smith, Davin Crampton tries; Kyle Feldt 7 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST SEA EAGLES 16 (Rowan Klein, Callum Klein, Eli Wickham tries; Ryan Hansen 2 goals) at Barlow Park.