The Sunshine Coast Falcons have recorded their first home victory of the season with an impressive attacking display, running away with a 36-20 win over the Ipswich Jets at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
In what was a perfect sunny afternoon for football, the game was preceded by a minute silence in tribute to the late, great Tommy Raudonikis, who coached at the Jets from 1985-1988.
In a fitting way adding a sense of occasion to the contest, both teams came out looking to stamp their authority on the game early.
It was the home team who struck first after Ipswich opted to compress their defence on their own line. A move which was pounced upon by Jack Wright, who placed a perfectly timed kick towards the wing, landing on the chest of an unmarked Nat McGavin.
Shortly after, the Jets looked set to reply after getting themselves into a promising attacking position, only to fumble the ball on the way to the line with the Falcons’ Todd Murphy alert and ready to pick up the crumbs.
A lack of discipline led to a string of penalties against the Falcons and seemingly gifted the Jets the lions-share of possession and field position, but they were unable to capitalise and turn that advantage into try-scoring opportunities in the first half.
The same cannot be said of the Falcons, who crossed another three times in the first half.
McGavin was the clear standout in the first period of play, bagging himself a first half hat-trick in a stunning yet familiar fashion, being on the receiving end of some pinpoint kicking from his halves pairing for all three of his tries.
The second half offered some rays of hope for the travelling Ipswich fans, highlighted by a spectacular second half double from Jets halfback Julian Christian.
It was a mixed bag from the Falcons forward pack, with most of their penalties coming from careless high contact from the men in the middle.
Daniel Dole was big off the bench, providing plenty of aggression; but it was starting prop Patrice Siolo who really set the standard. He was tireless in defence and offered some variation in attack that led to him notching up some impressive running metres, while also breaking the line on a couple of occasions.
Off the back of such an impressive game, Siolo nudged past McGavin to take the honours of the Falcons' man of the match award.
While the home side will be pleased to come away with the win, they are not without concern moving into next week's game against the PNG Hunters in XXXX Rivalry Round.
Big man Darren Schonig went down in the first half with what appears to be an ACL injury and will be hoping scan results prove otherwise, and while the Falcons are blessed with depth in their pack, his aggression and go-forward will be missed.
Speaking post-match on Kayo, Falcons co-captain Todd Murphy said the win has given his side plenty of confidence heading into the Round 4 clash at Bycroft Oval.
“The club lost a grand final to them and we’re going down there. They’ve got a huge supporter base which is great for the game," Murphy said.
"They run very hard and it’s not going to be an easy game. We’re going to have to defend for the 80 against them."
Match: Hunters v Falcons
Round 4 -
Venue: Bycroft Oval, Gold Coast
For the Jets, they host the Brisbane Tigers at North Ipswich Reserve.
Match: Jets v Tigers
Round 4 -
Venue: North Ipswich Reserve, Ipswich