The Ipswich Jets burst out of the blocks with their electrifying style – but it was some gritty defence which earned them this year’s NRL State Championship, posting a 26-12 win over the Newcastle Knights.
It was an entertaining first half with some trademark “Jets” football thrilling the pro-Queensland crowd early.
Manly Sea Eagles bound hooker and man of the match Matt Parcell added to his finals try scoring tally in the opening minutes, proving too quick with his darts from dummy half.
While the Jets have a reputation of running sideways, last week’s Duncan Hall Medallist Billy McConnachie decided to run straight and hard over the line and was rewarded with a try.
However, the Knights kept themselves in the game with a try to George Ndaira who was one of the best for Newcastle before he left the field injured.
But in typical Jets style, a try right before halftime had them in the box seat – with Rod Griffin picking up a loose ball and passing it to speedster Marmin Barba who ran almost the length of the field to score; giving his side a 20-6 lead at halftime.
In the second however, the Knights threw everything they had at the Queensland side – and the Jets also made the sort of errors their style of football can sometimes produce.
An Ipswich error at one end was punished at the other, with Jaelen Feeney running over to score to start the second half, bringing the scores to within eight points 20-12.
However, while the Knights would consider themselves unlucky to have not posted more points in the second half considering their efforts – they were held up twice over the line and a forward pass ruling also denied them a try – there is no denying the defensive effort of the Jets to hold them out.
Richard Pandia’s effort to hold up a certain Knights try with just over half an hour remaining in the match typified the efforts of the Jets throughout the afternoon.
After soaking up wave after wave of Knights attack, as they so often do, Ipswich were able to turn the tables, with forward Rod Griffin charging over to put the icing on the cake for the Jets to produce th final scoreline of 26-12.
Both skippers were looking for one more fairytale to end their careers, and while skipper Jets Keiron Lander got to hold the trophy aloft, Knights captain Clint Newton leaves the game having acheived at the highest level.
The Jets followed the lead of last year’s inaugural winners the Northern Pride to ensure the silverware stays in Queensland.
IPSWICH JETS 26 (Marmin Barba, Matt Parcell, Rod Griffin, Billy McConnachie tries; Carlin Anderson 5 goals) def NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 12 (Jaelen Feeney, George Ndaira tries; George Ndaira 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium, Sydney (Halftime: Ipswich 20-6).
Man of the Match: Matt Parcell (Ipswich Jets)
Ipswich Jets: 1. Carlin Anderson 2. Marmin Barba 3. Liam Capewell 4. Nemani Valekapa 5. Richard Pandia 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock 9. Matt Parcell 10. Rod Griffin 11. Sam Martin 16. Billy McConnachie 13. Keiron Lander (c) Interchange: 8. Josh Seage 14. Landon Hayes 17. Chris Walker 22. Fakahoko Teutau
Newcastle Knights: 1. Jake Mamo 2. Honeti Tuha 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Joseph Tapine 5. Ken Tofilau 6. Carlos Tuimavave 7. Jaelen Feeney 8. Damian Sironen 9. Danny Levi 10. Sam Mataora 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Jacob Saifiti 13. Clint Newton (c) Interchange: 14. George Ndaira 15. Marvin Filipo 16. Michael Steele 27. Tama Koopu