Bronco Ben Hunt starred for Ipswich today to help the home team down the Devils 44-24 at North Ipswich Reserve.
Norths travelled to Ipswich on equal footing with the Jets and they were looking to go ahead on the table by producing an upset.
However, the Jets started the game full of attack and it only took three minutes of the game to lapse before Wes Conlon again got his name on the score sheet, crossing for his 19th try for the Jets to give his side the perfect start.
The four-pointer came on the back of a scrum and long passes from Hunt and his halves partner Dane Phillips. They enabled the Jets to get on the outside and Nemani Valekapa did good work to hold up the defence for Conlon to turn under and score.
Norths hit back though soon after following two penalties in consecutive sets which forced the Jets to defend their line. An offload to noted try-scorer and former Jet Javarn White saw him go over for the Devils when he crossed in the right hand corner to level the scores.
In the 17th minute, Valekapa crossed for a try of his own after Hunt rolled the ball into the in-goal for Norths to retrieve; but in the struggle to get in the field of play and with pressure from Phillips bearing down on him, Delouise Hoeter dropped the ball and Valekapa was there to capitalise.
The Jets added to their score with a penalty goal after Hunt was deemed to have been taken out after kicking the ball.
They added another try soon after – again with Hunt playing a key role – after he drifted across the field and turned Lachlan Roe under to steam up the field for 40m. Roe then engaged the fullback – which allowed Richard Pandia to sneak up the blind side to score.
Approaching halftime, Pandia had his second try when Luke Capewell and Hunt combined to get a quick ball to Jesse Roberts on the short side and gave him a clear run to the line.
The Jets went into the break leading 22-4; but coaches Ben and Shane Walker urged their side not to be complacent and told them to relax and to be watchful of Todd Murphy’s angled runs.
Ipswich then came out in the second half and scored twice in the first 10 minutes to further stamp their authority on the game – the first coming after Hunt again rolled it in for Roberts to dive on the loose ball and a 26-4 lead.
That was extended to 32-4 when Sebastian Pandia decided to score his family’s third try. The Jets went as far left as possible and found the big second rower out wide.
It was one-one traffic and Conlon picked up his second to score his 300th point for the Jets after they were able to turn defensive pressure into attack. They forced Luke Pollock into an error and Conlon capitalised.
However, another famous half in Chris Sandow then tried to assert himself on the match and had a hand in a mini-revival for the Devils. They scored a burst of three tries to Michael Lucas, Hoeter and Pollock in kick succession off some great kicks from Sandow, but it was too little too late.
Roe ended Norths’ resurgence with his first Intrust Super Cup try with six minutes to go; while Lucas scored a consolation try to bring the final score to 44-24.
IPSWICH JETS 44 (Wes Conlon 2, Richard Pandia 2, Nemani Valekapa, Jesse Roberts, Seb Pandia, Lachlan Roe tries; Wes Conlon 5, Luke Capewell goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 24 (Michael Lucas 2, Javarn White, Delouise Hoeter, Luke Pollock tries; Chris Sandow 2 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.