By Jaydem Martin/Tigers Correspondent
It was a vital Round 13 clash as the Suzuki Brisbane Tigers hosted the Ipswich Jets at Totally Workwear Stadium after a Brisbane LGA lockdown extension forced the postponement of Round 12.
In a match where both teams were desperately looking for a win to try and get back on track and salvage something from the remainder of the regular season.
That desperation was on early display as the Jets were in control for the opening ten minutes, winning the territory and possession. The Tigers were able to show some resiliency and eventually got themselves into the grind as both teams started going set for set at each other with some good defence being displayed on both ends.
The first points would come in the 18th minute after the Tigers lack of discipline would give away a penalty, leading to Jets five-eighth Josh Cleeland successfully kicking the penalty goal to take a two-point lead.
There was a good passage of play after a scoot from dummy half by Tigers’ hooker, Haele Finau, which would result in a six again call and allow the Tigers to build some real pressure against the Jets.
That pressure would soon be converted into points with the first try of the game coming in the 25th minute as the Tigers put in a nice little grubber that would allow their centre Kea Pere to run onto the ball and put it down to take the lead. With the kick virtually in front, Brayden Torpy had no issues with the conversion to give the Tigers a 6 – 2 lead.
It took the Jets almost the entire half to finally post their first try, an important try in the 37th minute thanks to their winger Ratu Jope Rotavisoro. With Josh Cleeland missing the conversion, the score would be locked up with both sides going to sheds having to think about some missed opportunities in a low scoring first half.
Half-time: Tigers 6 – Jets 6
The attack from both sides would come in the second half, and quickly for the Jets as Jordan Carriera crossed over the line in the 43rd minute giving Ipswich the lead again.
It didn’t last long as Tigers halfback Darren Nicholls dazzled his opposition with some electric footwork close to the line in a great solo try. Brayden Torpy was again successful with the boot and would end the day with a 100% conversion rate.
With both teams even on the scoreboard, there was a period where the Tigers would begin to gain the ascendency, using an increased amount of speed and footwork around the ruck to send their big men forward against some tiring Jets.
Kea Pere would pick up his second try for the day when he gave his team their third try in the 51st minute. Not long after, the Tigers would receive a shot at goal giving them a penalty in front of the sticks. Brayden Torpy would successfully convert, and the extra two points would allow the Tigers to jump out to an eight-point lead with only twenty-four minutes remaining until full time.
The Jets weren’t about to give up anytime soon, after their second rower Ben White would get them back on the scoreboard scoring their third try. It was later successfully converted by Josh Cleeland.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the game, much to the ire of the Tigers fans, came in the 67th minute when five-eighth Kyle Coghill was sent to the sin bin. The extra man advantage for the next ten minutes would prove costly for the Tigers as a minute after the sin bin, Jets’ Blake Lenehan would get them back in front with a four pointer.
An additional try towards the end of the game to Ben White (picking up his second) would make it harder for a Tigers miracle comeback to happen. Up until the sin binning of Tigers Kyle Coghill, it was looking like a game that could’ve gone either way. The Jets however were able to take control playing against twelve and had no problem closing out the rest of the game.
The final score would be 32-20 in favour of the Jets who now pick up only their second win of the year, and puts them in a better position to avoid the wooden spoon. As for the Tigers, a loss at home hurts and makes it a real challenge for a late surge to reach the finals.
Main photo: Mel Tabet