The result was in the balance until the final minute – but the Ipswich Jets held out a tenacious Townsville Blackhawks to claim their maiden Intrust Super Cup premiership with a 32-20 win.
It was a grandstand finish with Townsville pressing until the end – but they could not pin back the Jets who inflated the score line with a try to Manly Sea Eagles-bound hooker Matt Parcell in the final seconds of the game.
One of only three foundation clubs to have not won the Queensland / Intrust Super Cup – the Jets claimed their first major silverware in style – despite being on the back foot early.
The North Queensland side started well with Tom Humble over to open the scoring for the game and the Blackhawks looked like they were handling the grand final nerves better than their opposition.
However, the speed of Marmin Barba helped light up a sodden Suncorp Stadium and turned the game in the favour of the Jets, with his bust down the sideline and pass inside to Dane Phillips coming up with points.
He scored one of his own soon after following an error from the Blackhawks, with Jahrome Hughes throwing the ball into his path in his attempt to keep the ball from going over the sideline.
Fellow speedster Zac Santo picked up his customary try, speeding away to peg the scores back to 12-8; with the Blackhawks missing both conversions.
However, as the clock was winding down for halftime – the Jets made sure they had ample breathing space at the break, with Carlin Anderson scoring from a set play from a scrum – giving his side a 16-8 lead at halftime.
The Jets started the second half with short kick-off – and after two previous ones were unsuccessful – this one came up with the goods – eventuating in a try to retiring skipper Keiron Lander before Nemani Valekapa added to the points tally with a try of his own.
However, despite uncharacteristic errors blotting their play throughout the match; the Blackhawks were never going to die wondering and hit back with Hughes finding some redemption to go over to reduce the deficit to 10 points at 24-14; but a penalty goal to the Jets took the gap out to two converted tries once again.
The excitement kept on coming and with just over six minutes left in the game – Robert Lui got his team back in the game with a chip-kick ahead for himself which he pounced on to score.
However, despite pressing until the end, that was the last of their points for the day – while Parcell brought his tally of tries in the finals to 12 – a record for the Cup.
It was a remarkable performance from the Jets who were down to two on the bench for most of the second half, with Kurt Capewell and Josh Seage unable to return with injury.
For the Townville Blackhawks, the disappointment of defeat was etched on the faces of the players – but they had achieved remarkable success already this year, having claimed the minor premiership and a grand final berth in their first season.
The Ipswich Jets will face off against the winners of the NSW Cup the Newcastle Knights in next week’s NRL State Championship at ANZ Stadium on NRL grand final day.
IPSWICH JETS 32 (Carlin Anderson, Marmin Barba, Nemani Valekapa, Dane Phillips, Matt Parcell, Keiron Lander tries; Carlin Anderson 2, Marmin Barba, Keiron Lander goals) defTOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 20 (Jahrome Hughes, Zac Santo, Tom Humble, Robert Lui tries; Robert Lui 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium
Townsville Blackhawks: 1. Jahrome Hughes, 2. Zac Santo, 3. Tom Humble, 4. Mosese Pangai, 5. Samsen O’Neill, 6. Robert Lui, 7. Michael Parker-Walshe, 8. Glenn Hall, 9. Anthony Mitchell, 10. Daniel Beasley (c), 11. Rhyse Martin, 12. Kelepi Tanginoa, 13. Neville Costigan, 15. Lorenzo Ma’afu, 16. Chris McLean, 18. Rhys Matsen, 19. Ricky Thorby.
Ipswich Jets: 1. Carlin Anderson, 2. Marmin Barba, 3. Liam Capewell, 4. Nemani Valekapa, 5. Richard Pandia, 6. Josh Cleeland, 7. Dane Phillips, 8. Josh Seage, 9. Matt Parcell, 10. Rod Griffin, 11. Sam Martin, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Keiron Lander, (c) 14. Landon Hayes, 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock, 16. Billy McConnachie, 22. Fakahoko Teutau.
Duncan Hall Medal for Man of the Match: Billy McConnachie - Ipswich Jets
First published on QRL.com