Ipswich Jets win Intrust Super Cup
The Ipswich Jets have won their maiden Intrust Super Cup title after an upset 32-20 victory over minor premiers Townsville Blackhawks at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After falling behind early the Jets regrouped to open up an eight-point half-time lead and despite a late fightback by their more fancied opposition, Ipswich managed to hold on for a 12-point win in front of over 8,000 fans.
The six-tries-to-four victory was the first premiership for the Jets in their 33-year history after the club had previously failed in two Brisbane Rugby League and Queensland Cup grand finals.
A late try to departing Ipswich hooker Matt Parcell inflated the scoreboard in what was a tightly contested match between two teams with contrasting styles of play.
Ipswich back-rower Billy McConnachie took out the Duncan Hall medal for Man of the Match, as the Jets finished the contest with a two-man bench after Liam Capewell (ankle) and prop Josh Seage (concussion) came off during the first half.
Townsville received the best possible start after Ipswich spilt the ball coming out of their own end in the first set of the match.
The Blackhawks capitalised straight away when centre Tom Humble sliced over the line from close range to open up a 4-0 lead in the 3rd minute.
So often assured with ball in hand, the Jets made several early errors in a nervous opening 15 minutes.
Heavy rain and lightning delayed the second-half kick-off of the FOGS Colts Challenge curtain raiser match between Wynnum Manly and the Burleigh Bears, won 22-12 by the Bears, although sunshine soon bathed Suncorp Stadium prior to the main game.
The greasy surface restricted the Jets normally open and free-flowing style of play, and as a result they resisted the temptation to throw the Steeden around during the early exchanges.
However, when they finally decided to chance their arm they were rewarded handsomely when Marmin Barba raced down the left touchline after being put in the clear by Nemani Valekapa.
Barba was grasped five metres short of the try line but managed to dish a well-timed offload to halfback Dane Phillips for the second try of the afternoon.
Ipswich crossed again moments later when Blackhawks fullback Jahrome Hughes threw a wayward ball infield while attempting to avoid being pushed into touch and Barba was on the spot to ground the ball.
Carlin Anderson made no mistake from out wide to hand the Jets a 12-4 lead after 22 minutes.
Hughes didn't dwell on his mistake for too long and he soon sent winger Zac Santo over for his 31st try of the season after Townsville executed a simple sweeping play from an attacking scrum 10 metres out from the line.
Blackhawks five-eighth Robert Lui saw his conversion strike the post which kept his side four points adrift of the Jets.
Ipswich was dealt a blow seven minutes before half-time when the experienced Capewell went down with an ankle injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the match.
Capewell's injury didn’t rattle the Jets as they continued to press for another try before the break.
They eventually capitalised when the Blackhawks made a mistake close to their line allowing the Jets to utilise Carlin Anderson's blistering speed from a set move from the scrum to score 55 seconds out from half-time.
Anderson missed his chance to extend Ipswich's lead with the score remaining 16-8 at the break.
Ipswich attempted another short kick-off to restart the second half and it was a case of third time lucky for the Jets as Barba regathered the ball to put his side back on the attack.
It didn’t take long for the enterprising Jets to crack the Blackhawks' line again when Phillips' grubber kick found retiring Ipswich skipper Keiron Lander to hand his side a 20-8 advantage in the 42nd minute.
The Jets' start to the second stanza improved even further when a perfectly timed pass by Manly Sea Eagles-bound hooker Matt Parcell allowed rampaging Fijian Nemani Valekapa to crash over the line to open up a 24-8 lead.
As they've done all season, the Blackhawks refused to lie down and soon found a second wind when Hughes scooted over to leave Townsville trailing by 10.
Another Barba line break put the Blackhawks on the back foot and the younger brother of Cronulla Sharks utility Ben Barba eventually added another two points to the Jets' total via a penalty goal.
Trailing by 12 points with 20 minutes remaining the Blackhawks began to lose their structure and mistakes started to creep in as they attempted to force the issue.
Nothing seemed to be happening for Townsville until Robert Lui collected his own grubber kick from close to the line to set up a grandstand finish at 26-20 in the 74th minute.
Barba missed a field goal attempt inside the last minute which gave the Blackhawks one final chance to level the scoreboard.
However, the minor premiers gave up possession while searching for an elusive try which allowed the Jets to snare another four-pointer through Parcell in the dying seconds.
Lander took over conversion duties in his final Intrust Super Cup match and landed the extra two points from right in front to seal a 32-20 victory for the Ipswich Jets.
The Jets will face the Newcastle Knights in the NRL Interstate Championship at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, October 4.
Ipswich Jets 32 (Dane Phillips, Marmin Barba, Carlin Anderson, Keiron Lander, Nemani Valekapa, Matt Parcell tries; Carlin Anderson 2, Barba, Lander goals) def. Townsville Blackhawks 20 (Tom Humble, Zac Santo, Jahrome Hughes, Robert Lui tries; Lui 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Half-time: Jets 16-8. Crowd: 8,086. Duncan Hall medal: Billy McConnachie.