The Ipswich Jets and Redcliffe Dolphins took their Activate! Queensland Country Week round to Quilpie and it was a cracker.
The Dolphins revived memories of their 2002 34-10 Intrust Super Cup grand final win against the Jets by wearing their 2002 jumper. The ghosts of Luke Scott, Barry Berrigan, Shane Perry and Aaron Barba came back to haunt the Jets for a second time in Quilpie.
The Jets started with another name from 2002, Tyler Coburn opening the scoring and looked like the result may be reversed in 2021.
On the back to two penalties, the Jets found themselves in good ball territory and it was Josh Cleeland who decided to make sure the Jets didn’t waste the opportunity.
Going from right to left, Cleeland turned Coburn under; he used his footwork and strength to find the Dolphins, not closing the gate on the inside and a 4-0 Jets lead. That man Cleeland again added two points and the Jets had the start they desired, up 6-0 after 10 minutes.
The Dolphins set about testing the Jets edge defence and as they attacked Ipswich’s left-hand side, Dolphins fullback and dangerman Trai Fuller drew in defenders and found a rampaging Preston Riki, who touched down for his fifth try in game number 12 in 2021.
The kick wasn’t successful and the Jets maintained their lead after 15 minutes of play.
In one of the most bizarre passages of play ever seen in Cup, Jets front row and captain Nat Neale went to dummy half and did a 360-degree turn, bamboozling the Dolphins. Neale then flopped a pass back that was kicked through by Ipswich’s Jordan Carriera to score with plenty of Dolphins confused by what just happened.
The Jets weren’t confused, with the 12-4 score line, just happy as Cleeland added two points and brought up his 100th point for 2021.
Match: Dolphins v Jets
Round 14 -
Venue: John Waugh Park, Quilpie
It was the opposite edge that exposed the Jets just before half-time when Cameron Cullen found his edge back rower Pessi Kepu, who scored to get the Dolphins back within four points at half-time.
It was minutes after half-time, and after a Jets mistake, that Dolphins dummy half Shane Pumipi revived memories of Barry Berrigan from the 2002 grand final and dived over from dummy half Justin Worley played the role of Damien Richters, who kicked five goals on the big day and the Dolphins had the lead 14-12.
Denzel Burns wasn’t settling for a repeat of 2002 and made a bust after the Jets received a six to go, as the Jets surged down field, support came and Cleeland went to the right and found captain Neale, who scored his 35th try in game 160 for Ipswich.
Gerome Burns become Reggie Cressbrook as he charged down the left-hand side and found Rhys Jacks inside to score under the posts with his first ever try for the Jets in 13 games and 11 years since his debut for the Jets.
The Jets had the lead 22-14 after 49 minutes.
Three players found their time cut short with a stay in the sin bin, Jayden Connors from Ipswich and Nathan Watts and Tauaalo Vaipulu from Redcliffe all found themselves having a seat in the naughty corner for 10 minutes.
It was a somersaulting Justice Utatao who restored justice to the Dolphins when Cullen again ball played at the line and delivered a pass for Utatao to score his first try this season.
The Jets still held onto a slender two-point lead, even after Justin Worley added the extras, but things were becoming tight at 22-20 with 12 minutes to go.
The Dolphins found a way to get across the line again attacking the Jets edge.
Riki had his second try when the Dolphins went from under the posts, sucking in the Jets defence to Riki again who was the recipient of a Jayden Nikorima pass that allowed the big second rower to score.
The Dolphins had the lead for the first time 26-22 with five minutes to play. That was all Redcliffe needed despite Ipswich staging a late charge, it was too much.
The Dolphins will play the Central Queensland Capras next week.
Match: Capras v Dolphins
Round 12 -
Venue: Rugby Park, Rockhampton
The Jets will take on Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Match: Jets v Falcons
Round 12 -
Venue: North Ipswich Reserve, Ipswich