Photo courtesy of The Queensland Times
The Ekka has started and the Ipswich Jets came up with that show bag that promises a lot but ends up with broken toys looking nothing like the picture in the Show Bag Pavilion.
The big clash at the North Ipswich Reserve was billed as the game of the round and a game that would prove that the winner was grand final bound; the Jets will be hoping that isn’t the case.
The game started in a steady fashion with both teams testing each other out trying to expose a weakness.
The Hunters took the steady approach and took the two points early to take a 2-0 lead.
The visitors off-loaded the ball like it was one of those stuffed toys you win in Side Show Alley. They strung passes together and found support in complete contrast to the Jets who couldn’t find support or the pass would go to ground.
Stargroth Amean was the beneficiary of the second phase play and the fullback got the Hunters on their way while Hunters’ leading scorer this year Noel Zeming converted to take the score out to 8-0 after 20 minutes.
The Jets struck back through Marmin Barba who scored his 20th try this year and got the Jets moving at 8-4.
The Hunters scored again before half time when a dropped ball fell into the hands of Atte Bina who scored under the posts and gave the Hunters a healthy lead of 14-4. The Hunters took the two points on offer again just before the break to extend their lead to 16-4.
PNG started the second half the same way they ended the first by taking the two points again and going further in front.
Zemming scored for his side after some counter attacking from the Hunters and the game was slipping away from the Jets who continued to push passes and were not be able to complete sets.
Like a poorly made dagwood dog the Jets just couldn’t finish it. The Hunters were taking their chances and defending too well.
With 22 minutes left it was the Hunters 24-4.
Then after another dropped ball, Hunters captain Israel Eliab went 90m and scored to put the result beyond doubt at 30-4 with 15 minutes to go.
The Jets poor discipline continued to cost them with another penalty in kicking range and the Hunters took the two points and a lead of 32-4.
Ipswich restored some credibility through two late tries; with Dane Phillips bringing up his 100th Intrust Super Cup point and Barba scoring try number 21 to put him within one try of equalling the Jets’ try scoring record for a season of 22.
The Hunters had just been too good and like the ‘carnie’ in side show alley had shown plenty of guile and tricks.
Next weekend, the Jets will take on the table topping Townsville Blackhawks while the Hunters will come up against Wynnum.
PNG HUNTERS 32 (Stargroth Amean, Noel Zeming, Israel Eliab, Atte Bina tries; Noel Zeming 8 goals) def IPSWICH JETS 14 (Marmin Barba 2, Dane Phillips tries; Carlin Anderson goal) at North Ipswich Reserve.
Ipswich Jets: 1. Carlin Anderson 2. Marmin Barba 3. Chris Walker 4. Nemani Valekapa 5. Brandon McGrady 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips (c) 8. Josh Seage 9. Landon Hayes 10. Rod Griffin 11. FAKAHOKO TEUTAU (for Joseph Ofahengaue) 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Richard Pandia 22. Matt Parcell 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock 16. Billy McConnachie 17. Liam Capewell
PNG Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Oti Bland Tony 3. Noel Zeming 19. Edward Goma 5. Adex Wera 6. Israel Eliab (c) 7. Ase Boas 8. Henry Noki 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Brandy Peter 12. Kato Ottio 13. Timothy Lomai 14. Adam Korave 15. Atte Bina 16. Willie Minoga 17. Enock Maki