Easts Tigers and Ipswich Jets meet on Saturday afternoon in the elimination finals, and sadly only one team will go through for a shot at the Grand Final next weekend.
Both teams had great wins last weekend, and both teams can highly entertaining. It is a fixture worthy of TV coverage, which is exactly what it is for viewers at home.
It’s all to play for at Suzuki Stadium on Saturday, and it should be great.
HOW DID THEY GET HERE?
Both Easts Tigers and Ipswich Jets did it the hard way last weekend by winning their elimination final game on the road against quality opposition in Northern Pride and Townsville Blackhawks respectively.
They also did it quite impressively, and very hard to judge which performance was better. The Jets led 20-0 at half time in Townsville last weekend, and held off the Blackhawks second half comeback before finishing off in style. Townsville suffering key injuries throughout the game hurt them, but Ipswich were already doing the job before then.
You could argue though that the Easts Tigers result was even more impressive. Not only was it on the road in Cairns, but the Northern Pride had their star Jake Clifford return to the side after a successful NRL initiation with the Cowboys late in the season. In addition to that, Easts lost players to the Melbourne Storm after key injuries to the NRL side. After all of that they held the Pride scoreless and won 32-0. Highly impressive form to take into this weekend’s clash.
WEEK 1 FINALS RESULTS
Townsville Blackhawks 12 IPSWICH JETS 32
Northern Pride 0 EASTS TIGERS 32
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Intrust Super Cup rugby league at its finest. Speedy try scorers, skillful halves, big forwards, and hopefully loads of points.
Much is said of the Ipswich Jets different style, and rightly so, as it one of rugby league’s points of difference. Their little men take full advantage of the tactics of trying to tire opposition defences.
But Easts are no slouch in the scoring department, in fact they finished the season with the third best attack, two places ahead of this weekend’s rivals. Both defences though are not overly watertight, they finished the season with the 8th and 9th best defences. Averaging just under 22 points conceded a game.
So it points to a tight game lot of points being scored. And an away win.This season’s games at Suzuki Stadium and North Ipswich Reserve proving the point.
2018 HEAD TO HEAD
R3 Easts Tigers 26 IPSWICH JETS 32
R16 Ipswich Jets 24 EASTS TIGERS 26
PLAYERS TO WATCH
There’s quite a few players to watch in this weekend’s knockout clash.
As ever for any Ipswich game, the trio of the back three are always great to watch, Michael Purcell in particular is one of the great try scorers in rugby league, scoring on average around a try a match.
Ipswich captain and prop Nat Neale is having a tremendous season, and is one to watch for his power and sneaky ability to sniff out a try or two.
Easts Tigers have Scott Drinkwater, who made a highly encouraging debut for the Melbourne Storm last weekend, continuing his fine 2018 form for the Tigers. His return to an already winning side ticks a lot of boxes.
Named in the side in former Bulldogs man mountain Sam Kasiano, and it is always hard to know if he will play or not. If he does, it is a big man, and a big name to have in an Intrust Super Cup knockout finals game.
Loads of points and action. And a grandstand finish.
Ipswich by 2
Live on Channel Nine Qld from 1pm
1. Linc Port 2. Kea Pere 4. Marion Seve 3. Shane Neumann 5. Leon Ellia-Niukore 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Brayden Torpy 8. Albert Vete 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Sam Kasiano 11. Jake Foster (c) 12. Patrick Kaufusi 13. Jack Svendsen 14. Matthew Groat 15. Dave Tyrrell 16. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 17. Kelma Tuilagi
1. Michael Purcell 2. Marmin Barba 3. Richie Pandia 4. Isimeeli Hafoka 5. Wes Conlon 6. Chris Ash 7. Dane Phillips 8. Tyson Lofipo 9. Jayden Connors 10. Nat Neale (c) 17. Billy McConnachie 12. Ben White 13. Ben Shea 11. Rowan Winterfield 15. Kierran Moseley 16. Huskie Teutau 19. Mitch Carpenter 14. Seb Pandia