The Ipswich Jets went into today’s round 3 game against Wynnum Manly Seagulls as huge outsiders with six players unavailable.
Written off by nearly everyone except the Ipswich league community, the home fans rallied around their team to pack the can bar and create a great afternoon at the football for the club’s Defence Force Appreciation Day.
The Ipswich Jets had Josh Cleeland and Kaliova Nauqe on debut, with the pair becoming Jets number 546 and 547 respectively. In the absence of Keiron Lander, stand-in skipper Tyson Lofipo steered the club to a memorable 32-22 victory at the North Ipswich Reserve.
The name “Granville” rang out across the field as the Jets muscled up to limit the impact of Seagulls’ danger man Jake Granville.
Fresh from his XXXX man of the match effort against Easts, the Jets had clearly marked Granville as the man to stop. Granville got his Wynnum side off to a promising start with heavy involvement and plenty of switches of play and probing runs.
The scoring started in Wynnum’s favour, with Peter Gubb crossing in the right hand corner. The visitors then jumped to a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes when Mitchell Frei hit a hard line back into the ruck, beating multiple tackles and scoring to the left of the posts. The former Newcastle Knight has been impressive with his line running on the left edge.
Ipswich were then able to come back with two quick tries to Kurt Capewell and Wes Conlon just before the break to go into half-time leading 12-10. At the back end of the half, Wynnum were starting to show signs of frustration at the wide running Ipswich style.
Immediately after half-time, giant Seagulls enforcer Dylan Smith bumped and bounced his way over the line for Wynnum to regain the lead 16-12.
However, it was the smaller Jets who would run away with the game in the second half, in particular former Swifts and Magpies talent Conlon. The diminutive fullback touched the ball in nearly every set and was rewarded with a second try after some off the cuff football by the Jets.
He was then involved in the next try, side stepping across the middle of the field and daring the big Wynnum forwards to take him, before finding the numbers on the right hand side leading to centre Brendon Marshall scoring in the corner. At that stage, Ipswich was in control at 22-16 with 20 minutes remaining.
The Walker brothers’ penchant for wide attack was on display again when Josh Seage scored 10 minutes later after a long looping pass from halfback Dane Phillips.
However, nothing summed up the day more than Marmin Barba’s 80m effort only moments later. Deep in their own yardage zone, rather than playing a traditional structured set with a long kick, Ipswich spread the ball wide to find Barba alone on the left wing.
He then showed he has just as much athleticism as brother Ben, beating renowned speedster Daniel Ogden for pace to score under the posts and ice the game for Ipswich 32-16.
Smith earned a second consolation try for Wynnum before the end of the game with another strong run after a nice dummy-half play from Granville.
After the match, Wynnum’s thoughts were with interchange hooker Mitchell Moore, who was stretchered off the field after taking a heavy knock in the second half.
In an emotional dressing room, Ipswich Jets co-coach Shane Walker spoke about the belief and confidence the club had in its entire squad.
Ipswich will play away against Burleigh next week, while the Seagulls will travel north to play the Mackay Cutters.
IPSWICH JETS 32 (Wes Conlon 2, Kurt Capewell, Brendon Marshall, Josh Seage, Marmin Barba tries; Wes Conlon 2, Haydan Lipp 2 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 22 (Dylan Smith 2, Peter Gubb, Mitchell Frei tries; Kurt French 2, John Te Reo goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.