A desperate 79th minute attempt to ground the ball by Easts winger Jarrod McInally was unsuccessful, leading the Ipswich Jets to claim a 32-26 win in XXXX Rivalry Round.
If Jets and Tigers fans were looking for respite after their thrilling two-point wins in Round 2, they were not going to get it last night as the two teams fought out a tight and tough encounter.
The Jets opened the scoring in the 10th minute when captain Nat Neale took an inside pass from Dane Phillips and stormed towards the line before slipping a pass to Michael Purcell in traffic to score behind the posts. Wes Conlon landed the first of his five successful conversions to give the Jets a lead they would never lose.
The Tigers struck straight back in their very next set when Scott Drinkwater looped round and found Patrick Kaufusi ranging wide, who crashed over between two Jets for the try.
In the early stages, the Tigers appeared disorganised at times - especially on tackle five - and it was this looseness that gifted the Jets their next try, with Conlon swooping on a spilled pass to race 60m for the try,] which he also converted, taking the score to 12-6.
Brayden Torpy and McInally combined beautifully for the Tigers’ second try, with Torpy putting up a perfectly weighted bomb for a soaring McInally, who climbed high over his opposing winger and successfully grounded the ball for a spectacular try to bring the score back to 12-10.
The Jets were not done for the half though and went back to what they do best, scoring a try in quintessential Jets fashion, with an elusive Purcell drifting across field, first left and then right, before picking up a hard-running Neale who crashed over. The kick was good, and the halftime score was 18-10.
They opened the scoring in the second half with Phillips going over himself in the 55th minute when chased his own grubber and was the beneficiary of a fortuitous bounce off the goal post and back into his path. Four minutes later he was at it again, this time turning provider for Tyson Lofipo who collected another attacking grubber. Conlon converted both tries and the Jets had skipped out to a seemingly unassailable 30-10 lead.
The game changed in the 62rd minutes when Torpy scored, after a strong run from dummy half by Chris Ostwald set the Jets defence on their heels. Drinkwater was next in two minutes later when he took on the Jets at their own game. He got the ball from dummy half and ducked, weaved, bobbed and scored, and suddenly it was 30-20 and the Tigers were starting to get some dominance for the first time in the game.
In a sign of the Tigers’ growing dominance, Ipswich took a shot at penalty from 30m out in front of the posts to extend their lead.
Former Jet McInally scored the last try of the day, over in the corner, after another great run by Ostwald and quick hands from Drinkwater and Torpy. The conversion was successful and the Tigers were back in touch at 32-26.
However, he was unable to repeat the dose as the clock wound down to steal a share of the points for his team.
Next week, Easts are scheduled in for a Channel 9 blockbuster against the Sunshine Coast, while the Jets will head to Rockhampton to take on the Capras.
IPSWICH JETS 32 (Michael Purcell, Wes Conlon, Nat Neale, Dane Phillips, Tyson Lofipo tries; Wes Conlon 6 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 26 (Jarrod McInally 2, Patrick Kaufusi, Brayden Torpy, Scott Drinkwater tries; Brayden Torpy 2, Billy Walters goals) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.
*Matt Crowhurst is a QRL correspondent