Seagulls grounded as speedy Jets soar
A SECOND-HALF try blitz has driven Ipswich to an easy 34-6 win over Tweed Heads Seagulls in the opening round of the Intrust Super Cup on Sunday.
Playing in humid and slippery conditions at Piggabeen Oval, the Jets' pace and ability to break the lines proved too classy for the Seagulls, who faded to concede four tries to nil in a scoreless second half.
Led by two tries to Ipswich winger Richard Pandia, the Jets' ability to shift the play wide was too much for Tweed, who entered the game with up to 11 newcomers after an off-season turnover of their list.
Seagulls' coach Aaron Zimmerle's pre-match message was simple as he called for his side to try and play the game on their own terms and not get drawn into getting pulled wide by the Jets.
With a wing division of Pandia and Michael Purcell receiving first-class delivery from five-eighth Luke Capewell and half-back Dane Phillips, the Jets were always going to be dangerous if given room to run out wide, which Zimmerle identified as the key to shutting the jets down.
"The key is we play our game and not be drawn into trying to match their expansive game,” Zimmerle said entering the match.
"If we play direct, and show the defensive attitude we have shown in the pre-season, that will lay the platform against the Jets.”
Boosted by the inclusions of Gold Coast Titans' forwards Eddy Pettybourne and Morgan Boyle, who came into the 17 at the expense of Shane Gillham who dropped to 18th man and the injury rested Damian Sironen, Seagulls were able to match the Jets early.
Seagulls tried to implement Zimmerle's direct game plan, but were repelled by Jets' strong defence, which caused multiple knock-ons, undoing Tweed's strong work on the offensive end.
Ipswich broke the deadlock on the 20 minute mark through a try to Nemani Valekapa, whose speed was a feature throughout the match.
Capewell stepped up to slot the first of his four conversions to establish a 6-nil lead for the Jets.
On the 35 minute mark, Ipswich right-centre Marion Seve capitalised on a Seagulls turnover to make a blistering run to put Pandia over the line for the Jets' second try.
A try to Boyle in the 38th minute closed the gap to close out the first half, but would prove to be the Seagulls only try for the game.
In a man of the match performance, Pandia was a thorn in Seagulls' side for the entirety of the game with continual runs opening up the field for his teammates.
The number five scored his second try of the match to open the second half, but to their credit, Tweed lifted to pin Ipswich in their defensive third.
Led by Burgess, Seagulls continually threatened the Jets' line, but were unable to capitalise despite largely controlling the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Turnovers plagued the Seagulls all game, with their inability to complete sets and limit turnovers proving costly.
A Seagulls' pass intercepted by Ipswich fullback Wesley Conlon in the 60th minute opened the floodgates for Ipswich and it was one way traffic from there.
Conlon ran the length of the field to hand Michael Purcell an easy try which effectively ended the contest, before Capewell and Christopher Aish both went over to complete three tries in thirteen minutes and ice the game.
Seagulls second half will be worrying for Zimmerle who has looked to end the run of fadeouts which plagued Tweed in 2016.
The side will look to bounce back on the road to Mackay next Saturday, who were humbled 24-4 by Northern Pride yesterday.
Ipswich's big win will see them in top spot on the ladder heading into round two.
Intrust Super Cup Round 1: Ipswich Jets 34 (Nemani Valekapa, Richard Pandia 2, Michael Purcell, Luke Capewell, Christopher Ash tries; Luke Capewell 4, Wes Conlon goal) def Tweed Heads 6 (Morgan Boyle try; Michael Burgess goal) at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
Mal Meninga Cup: Tweed Heads Seagulls 26 def Ipswich Jets 18 at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
Colts: Tweed Heads 60 def Ipswich Jets 18 at Piggabeen Sports Complex.