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Jets just miss out on first win against Tigers

Bottom-placed Ipswich Jets were looking to ignite their 2019 Intrust Super Cup campaign with a win over long-time rivals Easts Tigers, but it wasn't meant to be. 

While Easts have won their first two games with strong wins over Mackay Cutters and Norths Devils, Jets have suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Townsville Blackhawks and Burleigh Bears.

Tigers coach Scott Sipple said it was "definitely a game of two halves". 

"We were very clinical in the first half," Sipple said.

"But momentum changed when Bennett Leslie was sin-binned in the second. 

"We had an 80 per cent completion rate in the first half, and about 55 per cent completion in the second, so definitely a game of two halves. 

"But the boys showed a lot of character and resilience when we were down a man tonight to hang in there."

Tigers were boosted with the late inclusions of Melbourne Storm contingent Billy Walters, Pat Kaufusi, and Albert Vete; and Jets had new recruit and former Wynnum Manly Seagulls cult hero Peter Gubb run out for the first time. 

Jets were first on the scoreboard after Tigers gave away a penalty on their line; Marmin Barba was successful with the conversion, giving the Jets a 2-0 lead after six minutes of play.

It didn’t take long for Tigers to register points with Easts fullback Matt Cooper crossing for the first try of the match, after heavy contact from Albert Vete forced a turnover; Aaron Booth converted to give Easts a 6-2 lead after 20 minutes.

Tigers looked to have all the momentum after Jets were penalised with back to back penalties inside their own half.

Tigers were able to capitalise on their increase amount of possession, crossing through new recruit Bennett Leslie; Booth again converted the try and Easts Tigers led the Jets 12-2 after 33 minutes.

Aaron Booth lining up a kick during an earlier round. Photo: QRL Media
Aaron Booth lining up a kick during an earlier round. Photo: QRL Media

Things looked to be getting worse for the home side with the ball going out on the full off the kick off.

Walters, Tigers' five-eighth, was next to score, regathering his own kick, and diving under the posts to give his side a 16-point buffer at the halftime break.

Four minutes into the second half and Tigers lock Leslie was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.

Jets capitalised with the extra man in attack, crossing through Richard Pandia in the 44th minute; Barba converted the try to put the Jets within two converted tries.

Before long, Easts were back on the attack after Jets were penalised for back-to-back infringements.

Josh Ralph forced a repeat set with a short kick in goal and Jets opted for the short dropout.

Tigers flyer Curtis Dansey Smaller was first to the kick and beat several Jets defenders to cross for Easts' fourth try of the match.

Jets were looking for a glimmer of hope, and got it in the form of halfback Julian Christian, after he pounced on a short kick to score the Jets' second try of the night; Barba converted the try to put the Jets within eight with 21 minutes remaining.

Marmin Barba kicks. Photo: QRL Media
Marmin Barba kicks. Photo: QRL Media

Jets' fortune continued with Tigers front-rower Brett Greinke penalised for attacking the legs of Josh Cleeland; Barba was again solid with the kicking tee, knocking over the two-pointer to put the Jets within six.

The home side looked dangerous with their newfound confidence.

Gubb was injected into the game and his presence was felt immediately, scoring a try to put the Jets within two, with five minutes on the clock.

Jets gave it everything they had, but it wasn’t quite enough; the Tigers proving too strong, holding on for a 22-20 victory at North Ipswich Reserve.

Walters said “I think we let them back in with errors and some penalties and they are a dangerous side when they get a sniff and are very hard to stop, but we did well to hold on". 

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Sipple said his team was looking forward to playing PNG Hunters at home next weekend. 

"It'll be a tough, physical game, but I'm sure the boys will be up for it after a good week of training," Sipple said. 

Jets will play Pride in Round 4. 

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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