When Marmin Barba broke his leg after playing only six games this year, Ipswich fans were right to ask who their electrifying attacker might be.
Before his injury, Barba had scored 59 tries from his 52 games for the Ipswich Jets.
Enter the “Kangaroo Catcher” Michael Purcell. Purcell has now scored nine tries for the Jets from his 10 Intrust Super Cup games, a tally which includes four from yesterday’s game against the Mackay Cutters.
The try scoring rampage that saw the Jets win 38-6 started in the seventh minute when the Jets’ hooker Mikaere Beattie showed his increasing skill set when he rolled a ball into the Cutters’ in goal and the speed man Purcell grounded the ball.
10 minutes later, the Jets were defending their own line and turning Mackay away. The Cutters went to their right and threw a long pass; but not long later, Purcell was putting the ball down for his second try and the Cutters stood 100m away wondering what happened.
Last week, Ipswich’s Jesse Roberts threw some great passes for his team-mates, but this time, he decided to do it himself and busted over against some very tired Cutters’ defence to extend his side’s lead.
After 27 minutes, Ipswich were leading 18-0. In the pouring rain, it was always going to be a hard slog for the Cutters to come back from and things didn’t improve when Purcell got try number three.
The Jets threw the ball around with skills that contradicted the conditions and the winger was on hand to ground the ball for a hat-trick before halftime and a 22-0 lead.
To get the scoring started in the second half, Sam Martin off-loaded a beautiful ball that found Ipswich fullback Wes Conlon who scored to bring up his 200th point for the Jets.
Soon after, Purcell had four tries and with 15 minutes to go – this time thanks to the dependably good lead-up work of Nemani Valekapa.
It wasn’t the speed of Purcell that wrapped up the Jets’ scoring, it was instead the feet of 131-game front rower Tyson Lofipo who crashed over for try number 20 for the Jets.
The visitors finally got on the board when they kept the ball alive handed it to Andrew Davey who scored.
Next week the Jets will travel to Charleville to take on the Bears while the Cutters will take on Wynnum Manly at Moranbah.
IPSWICH JETS 38 (Michael Purcell 4, Jesse Roberts, Wes Conlon, Tyson Lofipo tries; Wes Conlon 5 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 6 (Andrew Davey try; Liam Taylor goal) at North Ipswich Reserve.