The Easts Tigers travelled to North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday afternoon, a ground that’s not always been a happy hunting ground for them. However, it was great place to be a Tiger on this occasion as they racked up a 52-20 win over the defending Intrust Super Cup premiers Ipswich Jets.
Led my big men Matt White, Dean Britt and Christian Welch, the Tigers pack was too simply strong for a Jets team that had no answer to a first half points avalanche. The Jets were unable to retain possession and continued to give the ball back to the Tigers who gleefully took advantage.
Almost everything the Tigers tried resulted in points – whether it was forwards running close to the ruck like Matt White did in the third minute, putting testing kicks into the Jets in goal through Leon Ellia-Niukore in the seventh minute), wide running backrowers slicing into holes as Dean Britt did in the 15th or the halfback trailing on the inside of a break which led to Brodie Croft scoring in the 22nd minute, the result was always the same.
Croft is a Tigers junior who has been playing NYC for the Melbourne Storm and in his Intrust Super Cup debut he looked accomplished in everything he did. Both with ball in hand and off ball he showed no sign of the nerves that must have been there and guided his team to a comprehensive victory.
Late in the first half the Jets started to look like themselves, with Hayden Lipp and Dane Phillips moving the ball across the field quickly and the Tigers defence being moved about. David Fa’alogo was running hard and finally the Jets were making the Tigers work. However even that did not work for them, as they moved the ball right to left 10m from the Tigers line a loose pass was thrown and big winger Dane Chang swooped on it and sprinted 90m to score.
Mr Reliable, Billy Walters, chipped in with 4 goals to make the score 28-0 at the break.
The Walker brothers’ succinct message to their team was ‘do something, do anything, play some football’ and their team did exactly that in the second half. Josh Robinson made a lovely break in the first set of six and Carlin Anderson took the inside pass and scored under the posts. Hayden Lipp converted and at 28-6 the Jets had some hope.
They scored three more second half tries to Wes Conlon (58th minute), Nemani Valekapa (62nd minute) and David Fa’alago (70th minute). However every time they scored the Tigers bite back. They also scored four second half tries to Guy Hamilton, Mat Pitman, Tommy Butterfield and Billy Walters.
There was plenty to like about the Jets second half with Sebastian Pandia, Velakapa and Sam Martin working hard.
For the Tigers, other than the big men it was Brodie Croft and Guy Hamilton who were the best on field. Hamilton, like Croft, is an Easts junior who has been part of the NYC system (with the Bulldogs) and is making every post a winner in the Intrust Super Cup.
The Tigers will face a much sterner test next week when they take on the Blackhawks at Suzuki Stadium, while the Jets face the equally daunting task of welcoming the high flying Hunters to North Ipswich Reserve.
Easts Tigers 52 (Matt White, Leon Ellia-Niukore, Dean Britt, Brodie Croft, Dane Chang, Guy Hamilton, Mathew Pitman, Tommy Butterfield, Billy Walters tries. Billy Walters 8 goals) defeated Ipswich Jets 20 (Carlin Anderson, Wes Conlon, Nemani Valekapa, David Fa’alogo tries. Hayden Lipp 2 goals).
18. Wes Conlon 5. Richard Pandia 3. Ben White 4. Nemani Valekapa 2. Joshua Robinson 6. Haydan Lipp 7. Dane Phillips (c) 8. David Fa’alogo 9. Landon Hayes 10. Nat Neale 11. Samuel Martin 12. Sebastian Pandia 13. Fakahoko Teutau 16. Billy McConnachie 1. Carlin Anderson 21. Jesse Roberts 22. Tyson Lofipo
Coach: Ben Walker and Shane Walker
1. Guy Hamilton 2. Leon Ellia-Niukore 3. Shane Neumann 4. Jamie Anderson 5. Dane Chang 6. Billy Walters 7. Brodie Croft 8. Christian Welch 9. Tommy Butterfield 14. Matthew White 11. Jake Foster 12. Dane Hogan (c) 13. Dean Britt 16. Mathew Pitman 17. Slade Griffin 15. Liam McDonald 10. Matthew Zgrajewski
Coach: Scott Sipple