The Easts Tigers travelled to North Ipswich Reserve yesterday – a ground which has not always been a happy hunting ground for them. However, this time around, it was great place to be a Tiger as they racked up a 52-20 defeat of the defending Intrust Super Cup premiers.
Led my big men Matt White, Dean Britt and Christian Welch; the Tigers pack was too simply strong for a Jets team that had no answer to a first half points avalanche. Ipswich were unable to retain possession and continued to give the ball back to the Tigers who gleefully took advantage.
Almost everything the Tigers tried resulted in tries – whether it was forwards running close to the ruck (White in the third minute), putting testing kicks into the Jets in goal (Leon Ellia-Niukore seventh), wide running backrowers slicing into holes (Britt in the 15th) or the halfback trailing on the inside of a break (Brodie Croft in the 22nd minute) – the result was always the same.
Croft is a Tigers junior who has been playing NYC for the Melbourne Storm and in his Intrust Super Cup debut, he looked accomplished in everything he did. Both with ball in hand and off ball, he guided his team to a comprehensive victory.
Late in the first half, the Jets started to look like themselves, with Haydan Lipp and Dane Phillips moving the ball across the field quickly and the Tigers defence being moved about. David Fa’alogo was running hard and finally the Jets were making the Tigers work.
However, even that did not work for them, as they moved the ball right to left 10m from the Tigers line a loose pass was thrown and big winger Dane Chang swooped on it and sprinted 90m to score.
The ever-reliable Billy Walters chipped in with four goals to make the score 28-0 at the break.
The Walkers Brothers’ message to their team was to “play some football” and their team did exactly that in the second half.
Josh Robinson made a lovely break in the first set of six and Carlin Anderson took the inside pass and scored under the posts. Lipp converted and at 28-6 the Jets had some hope.
They scored three more second half tries to Wes Conlon (58th minute), Nemani Valekapa (62nd minute) and Fa’alogo (70th minute). However, every time they scored the Tigers bit back. They also scored four second half tries to Guy Hamilton, Mat Pitman, Tommy Butterfield and Walters.
There was plenty to like about the Jets second half with Sebastian Pandia, Valekapa and Sam Martin working hard.
For the Tigers, other than the big men it was Croft and Hamilton who were the best on field.
The Tigers will face stern test next week when they host the Blackhawks at Suzuki Stadium, while the Jets face the equally daunting task of welcoming the high-flying Hunters to North Ipswich reserve.
EASTS TIGERS 52 (Matthew White, Leon Ellia-Niukore, Dean Britt, Brodie Croft, Dane Chang, Guy Hamilton, Mathew Pitman, Tommy Butterfield, Billy Walters tries; Billy Walters 8 goals) def IPSWICH JETS 20 (Carlin Anderson, Wesley Conlon, Nemani Valekapa, David Fa’alogo tries; Haydan Lipp 2 goals) at North Ipswich Oval.