Photo: Ritchie Duce - Level Eleven Photography
A second-half hat-trick to Marmin Barba has helped the Ipswich Jets cruise into the Intrust Super Cup top five after they dispatched a plucky Sunshine Coast Falcons outfit in Round 4 action.
After a quiet opening half, Barba utilised his blistering pace to score two long-range tries in the 45th and 74th minutes before capping off his display with a simple put down moments before full-time.
The younger brother of Cronulla Sharks' five-eighth Ben scored 22 tries last season and looks on track to repeat that effort in 2015 after Sunday's haul took his total to four tries in as many games.
"I was struggling with a few tries this year so it was good to get those three back and that'll hopefully put me back up there for the leading try-scorer," Barba told NRL.com.
"I just worked my way into [the match] and let the tries come to me instead of trying to force it which was good.
"[Today] was a good result coming off a tough win last week (28-26 away against the Capras). So it was good to get out here and put a few points on the Sunny Coast."
In other Round 4 results, new Intrust Super Cup franchise Townsville Blackhawks continued their blistering start to the season with a 50-18 trouncing of the Central Queensland Capras with former Sydney Roosters' under-20s skipper Rhyse Martin bagging four tries.
Another former under-20s star, ex-Bronco Cameron Cullen facilitated Mackay's 30-8 win over Easts Tigers by claiming three tries while Burleigh kept defending premiers Northern Pride winless in 2015 with an 18-10 win to round out Saturday's matches.
On Sunday Redcliffe were too strong for Norths Devils 44-20, as were their local rivals Wynnum Manly who brushed aside Souths Logan 38-20 and the PNG Hunters did it comfortably at home over Tweed Heads Seagulls 38-10.
However on the Sunshine Coast it was a case of Marmin and the Jets as the visitors turned an eight-point half-time advantage into a comfortable 26-point victory.
Leading 12-4 at the break, the Jets' renowned free-flowing style of play paid dividends five minutes into the half when the Steeden shifted out to Barba and the left winger backed himself to race 60 metres down the sideline, surviving a desperate ankle tap by Falcons' fullback Joe Uluibau in the process to take the score out to 16-4.
Simple errors at crucial stages continued to haunt the Falcons and the Jets extended their lead to 18-4 as a result with a penalty goal after replacement dummy-half Billy Brittain kicked the ball out on the full in the previous set.
The Falcons narrowed the deficit when hulking prop Kem Seru stormed over the line before Jets back-rower Sam Martin latched onto a lovely offload by five-eighth Josh Cleeland to see the scoreboard read 24-10 in favour of the visitors in the 66th minute.
Barba crossed for his second try with six minutes remaining after again finding space down the left touchline.
This time the 24-year-old dashed 80 metres down the flank to put the result beyond doubt with halfback Dane Phillips adding the extras to take the score out to 30-10.
In the dying seconds of the game Barba scored the easiest of his three tries by pouncing on a well-placed grubber kick and nailing the subsequent conversion to hand the Jets a 36-10 win and a personal haul of 22 points.
IPSWICH JETS 36 (Marmin Barba 3, Carlin Anderson, Josh Cleeland, Sam Martin tries; Marmin Barba 6 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 10 (Rueben Baillie, Kem Seru tries; Corey McGrady goal) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Joe Uluibau 2. Travis Robinson 3. Callum Klein 4. Ruben Baillie 5. Suli Vunivalu 6. Dan Murphy 7. Cory McGrady 8. Hymel Hunt 9. Slade Griffin 10. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 11. Kenny Bromwich 12. Jake Samoa 13. Tom Murphy (c) 14. Billy Brittain 15. Jordan Ryan 16. Jon Platt 18. Kem Seru
Ipswich Jets: 1. Troy O'Sullivan 2. Marmin Barba 3. Brandon McGrady 4. Nemani Valekapa 5. Carlin Anderson 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips 8. Josh Seage 9. Matt Parcell 10. Rod Griffin 11. Sam Martin 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Keiron Lander (c) 14. Gerico Cecil 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock 16. Billy McConnachie 17. Liam Capewell