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Wizard Cup Round 4 review
TWEED HEADS 34 d IPSWICH 14
THE IPSWICH Jets will be forced to prove themselves again to the doubters, following up an encouraging win against Norths with a meek 34-14 submission to Tweed Heads at the Piggabeen Complex.
Handing the Seagulls their first win of the season, Ipswich started the game by conceding a try in the opening minute and completing just two of its first seven sets in possession.
While Tweed was just as guilty of throwing away the ball early on, the Seagulls grasped their opportunities and attacked the contest with vigour.
A James Wood four-pointer just 39 seconds into the game was evidence of that, coming after vastly underrated prop Roy Friend put Brad Davis in the clear with a clever offload.
At one stage the two sides fumbled their way through 10 incomplete sets back-to-back. They appeared to take their frustrations out in defence, with Jets prop Matt McPhee twice smashing Selasi Berdie from the kick-off and then Seagulls captain Andrew Moroney drilling Smith Samau mercilessly.
Ipswich struck its first blow via Ricky Dodd 17 minutes into the contest, running brilliantly onto a flat pass from fill-in five-eighth Jason Bulgarelli.
Bulgarelli and Dodd combined just four minutes later in an even more spectacular movement, only to see backrower Joel Reithmuller end the play by dropping the ball across the line.
Tweed made the opposition pay, taking a 12-4 advantage with an opportunist try to Wood at the other end of the paddock, coming on the back of a freakish bounce from a Davis grubber.
It was clear Tweed Heads had the upper hand in the arm wrestle, but interchange forward Isaak Ah Mau struck a blow to their hopes when he ducked under a two-man tackle and extended his arm in the shades of halftime. His try, plus the conversion from Gordon Rattler, flattered the Jets at only 12-10 behind.
The second half gave a truer indication of the balance and by the time Ipswich scored again in the 69th minute, Tweed Heads was already out to a 24-14 lead.
Mighty mouse Chris Sandow grabbed his first Wizard Cup try in Seagulls colours, again from lead-up that featured Davis and Wood. Hooker Matt King rubbed salt in the wound by scoring a 70m try through flimsy defence.
Even when Ipswich responded with a Ricky Bird try from a grubber, the ever-present Nat Barnes stamped his mark on the game, crossing twice in three minutes to put the game out of reach.