The much anticipated match-up between third and fourth spots lived up to its billing in an exciting Saturday night match up at BMD Kougari Oval.
Without star hooker Matt Parcell who has been excellent for the Brisbane Broncos, Landon Hayes has stepped up to the plate as his replacement by setting up one try and scoring the game winner to give his Jets the 16-12 victory.
It was an end to end match that featured two of the best teams in the competition who play completely contrasting brands of football.
Wynnum Manly operate a structured, methodical and relentless game plan that maximises the damaging runs from their physical forward pack to open up opportunities through the ruck.
Whereas Ipswich play with a high octane, blink-and-you-miss, attacking siege mentality that saps teams physically and knocks them off their stride mentally.
Jets’ coaching duo Ben and Shane Walker (pictured) have confidence that their style of play will generate the necessary momentum to win games at the back end of the half.
Their insistence on running the football from side to side, probing for openings forced Wynnum Manly to chase the Jets players around and its effect wore the Gulls’ down eventually.
The result saw the Jets to jump to equal third on the ladder with the Gulls on 28 competition points.
Wynnum Manly opened the scoring through their elusive centre Matt Grieve after receiving a long cutout ball from half Matt Seamark and exploiting an opening on the right edge.
The centre was in fine form as he turned provider for the Gulls second try, drawing in both his opposite centre and winger to deliver a ball for Peter Gubb to finish.
The home side took an 8-0 lead into the break and had been outstanding in their defensive resolve against a club possessing one of the most innovative attacking structures in rugby league.
After Carlin Anderson slotted a penalty to put first points on the board for the Jets, Brandon McGrady crossed to bring the score line to 8-6.
The winger scored on the back of Hayes performing a trademark Jets’ cross field run, linking with the winger on the last tackle.
Wynnum Manly’s defensive line had been water tight for the majority of the match however with the clock ticking over to the final quarter, the visitors’ carries started to become more and more incisive.
The explosive Anderson posted the next four pointer for the Jets when he screamed onto a Valekapa offload, stepping off his right foot and scoring the go-ahead try with just under 20 minutes remaining.
Points were at a premium in the match featuring a ‘finals atmosphere’ and Wynnum Manly twice chose to take the two points on offer to regain the lead at 12-10.
However in the 76th minute, Hayes collected an offload from Rod Griffin to dart across the posts and step inside some tired Gulls’ defenders to put the put the visitors in front for good at 16-12.
As if this match could not get any more entertaining, Jets’ centre Chris Walker then thought he would don the villain costume and chastised the home crowd with a conversion attempt that took close to five minutes.
The display was better suited to the theatre than the football field and the former Queensland State of Origin star received the reaction that he no doubt intended from the Gulls’ faithful.
Amazingly, this thrilling match was not over as the Gulls almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the final minutes.
Reaching into the depths of their energy sources, the home side perfectly executed a sweep movement that found space on the right edge, but some big body contact from Brisbane Bronco Daniel Vidot forced Gubb out as he was attempting to put the ball down in the corner.
IPSWICH JETS 16 (Carlin Anderson, Brandon McGrady, Landon Hayes tries; Carlin Anderson, Chris Walker goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 12 (Peter Gubb, Matthew Grieve tries; Matthew Seamark 2 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls:
1. MATTHEW SMITH 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matthew Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Greg Eden 6. Patrick Templeman 7. Mathew Seamark 8. Ben Shea 9. Alehana Mara 10. Tim Natusch (c) 11. David Stagg 12. Jon Grieve 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Brendon Gibb 16. Aaron Rockley 17. Tanu Wulf
1. Carlin Anderson 21. DANIEL VIDOT 3. Chris Walker 4. Nemani Valekapa 5. Brandon McGrady 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips 8. Josh Seage 9. Landon Hayes 10. Rod Griffin 11. JOSEPH OFAHENGAUE 12. Kurt Capewell 13. RICHARD PANDIA 14. Fakahoko Teutau 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock 16. Billy McConnachie 17. Liam Capewell