By Michael Nunn
The Ipswich Jets have tasted success at Langlands Park for the first time since 2010 after four years of beating their head against a black and gold wall that wouldn’t crumble.
And the breakthrough 22-18 win didn’t come easily, with the Jets forced to hold on with 12 men in the final 10 minutes after Javarn White was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul.
The Jets started the game with Daniel Vidot and Marty Kennedy being included from the Broncos with Josh Seage and Billy McConnachie dropping out, while the Tigers also had a string of changes to their side with Jacob Fauid, captain Steve Thorpe and Liam McDonald all ruled out.
In the first half the Jets showed their attacking skills with two tries to Kurt Capewell, who capitalised on a clever Dane Phillips kick to score in the left hand corner and get the Jets off to a good start. Brendon Marshall missed the conversion and the Jets led 4-0 inside the first 10 minutes.
Ipswich Jets five-eighth Josh Cleeland weaved his way through the middle of the field and found Carlin Anderson who had come from the right wing in support to score next to the posts for a 10-0 lead following Marshall’s successful conversion.
In the next set, Capewell went over for his second try and gave the Jets a 16-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Ipswich had started well and maintained the 16-0 lead until just before half time when Easts’ Shane Neumann pounced on an inside ball from Cody Walker and scored for the hosts. Liam Tyson converted to send the game to half time with the Jets leading 16-6.
The Jets had managed to nullify the impact of Easts’ dangermen Tom Butterfield and Mitch Garbutt while Walker on the right hand edge had come off the bench and looked dangerous at times. In the second half it would be defence that would ultimately decide the winner of this contest.
The second half reached the half-way point before the scorers were needed again. Easts busted the Jets up the middle of the ruck after a Jets’ mistake and Matthew Zgrajewski scored. Tyson kept his perfect record intact, converting the try and closing the gap to 16-12 with 20 minutes to go.
Ipswich centre Nemani Valekapa jumped on the chance to strike back after an Easts charge down bounced for him and he ran the 40m required, fending his way through the defence as he want to score to the right of the posts.
Marmin Barba made no mistake with the extra two points and the score was now Jets 22-12 with 15 minutes to go.
The drama was just beginning with White sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
With 11 minutes left the Jets would have to stop a rampaging Tigers with only 12 men.
Easts weren’t done with yet and scored a great try through the hands with fullback Eddie Tautali finishing off a spectacular movement featuring a superb last pass from Jarrod McInally to make it a 22-18 game with eight minutes left.
With three minutes to go the Tigers were awarded a penalty to get them into an attacking position for one last crack at the Jets, but the Jets defended the 22-18 lead and came away winners after Easts were penalised whilst in possession.
IPSWICH JETS 22 (Kurt Capewell 2, Nemani Valekapa, Carlin Anderson tries; Brendon Marshall 2, Marmin Barba goals) def EASTS TIGERS 18 (Eddie Tautali, Shane Neumann, Matthew Zgrajewski tries; Liam Tyson 3 goals) at Langlands Park.
Easts Tigers: 1. Eddie Tautali 2. Jarrod McInally 3. Shane Neumann 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Dane Chang 6. Joel Romelo 7. Liam Tyson 8. Sam Bielefeld (c) 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Felise Kaufusi 11. Dane Hogan 12. Troy Giess 13. Mitch Garbutt 14. Dwayne Craft 15. Foisa Peni 16. Matthew Zgrajewski 17. Cody Walker
Ipswich Jets: 1. Javarn White 2. Kurt Capewell 3. Nemani Valekapa 4. Brendon Marshall 5. Carlin Anderson 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips 8. Kurtis Lingwoodock 9. Troy O'Sullivan 10. Rod Griffin 21. Martin Kennedy 12. Sam Martin 13. Keiron Lander (c) 17. Daniel Vidot 18. Marmin Barba 19. Wes Conlon 22. Matt Parcell