Jets strike late to kick-start finals bid
Photo: JSmith Sports Photography
It was the drop kick of the century and could easily have punted the Ipswich Jets out of this years Intrust Super Cup premiership race.
Trailing Wynnum Manly 16-0 in yesterdays Country Week clash at Toowoomba, the Jets were as close to the canvas as they could possibly get when Seagulls fullback Kurt French unleashed more misery on them with an incredible drop out from under his own posts.
The ball went 70m on the fly before bouncing end-on-end into Ipswichs in-goal area, leaving disbelieving Jets winger Troy OSullivan with too much to do.
Wynnum Manly had their tails up at this point but in a defining moment of the game, the defending premiers couldnt break through Ipswichs line after the Jets were forced to make a drop out of their own.
The Jets grew in confidence and after a long break from impressive centre Nemani Valekapa, halfback Ian Lacey turned the ball back on the inside for Rod Griffin, who reached for the line with an unusual put down that was subsequently approved by the video referee.
The Seagulls headed to the half-time break with a 16-6 lead.
Ipswich played with much greater purpose in the second half, with strong surges from Lama Tasi and nippy runs out of dummy half from Matt Parcell and OSullivan regularly getting them over the advantage line.
A clever Dane Phillips cross kick for a leaping Jarrod McInally and a strong solo effort from Valekapa saw the Jets close the gap to 16-14.
But the Seagulls were quick to regain the ascendancy when a classy off-load from Tanu Wulf found Billy Solah in support.
French added the extras to put Wynnum Manly out to a 22-14 lead with 18 minutes remaining.
Ipswichs response was almost immediate, with quick hands from Phillips and Donald Malone creating space for McInally, who cashed in with a clinical finish in the left corner.
Malone added the extras and with eight minutes to go, XXXX man of the match Ian Lacey scored from a fortuitous rebound close to the line.
Malone added a penalty goal in the closing stages to further frustrate the Seagulls, who felt they didnt get the rub of the green in the second half.
The Seagulls were clearly the superior team in the first half, with their big forwards rolling through the middle and seemingly off-loading at will.
Nat Barnes got the ball rolling with an early run away try, before the former Tweed flyer sparked their second try with an off-load to Jacob Fauid, who found Granville in support.
Granville darted towards the posts before firing the ball onto the chest of Peter Gubb, who scored untouched.
Wynnums third try of the afternoon came via Jason Moon, who combined with John Te Reo to slice through the Ipswich line.
IPSWICH JETS 28 (Jarrod McInally 2, Nemani Valekapa, Ian Lacey, Rodney Griffin tries; Donald Malone 4 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 22 (Peter Gubb, Billy Solah, Jason Moon, Nathanael Barnes tries; Kurt French 3 goals) at Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba.
Meanwhile, the Tweed Heads Seagulls moved into third spot on the Intrust Super Cup ladder with a hard-fought 34-24 win over the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles at Woodford yesterday.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 34 (Marmin Barba 2, Tom Merritt, Blake Anderson, Tom Dawney, Ayden Lee tries; Marmin Barba 5 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST SEA EAGLES 24 (Tien Nguyen 2, Kevin McKenzie, Dale Middleton tries; Dale Middleton 2, Ryan Hansen 2 goals) at Woodford Showgrounds.