Courtesy of Ben Wilmott at
GALE force winds meant the Ipswich Jets couldn't rely on goal kicking to get themselves home against the West Brisbane Panthers on Saturday.
Locked at 24-all in their BRL qualifying final at North Ipswich Reserve, it was the diminutive form of Peter Whittaker who latched on to a rampaging Lachlan Roe offload to run 30m and break the deadlock.
It was the match-winning try to keep their title defence alive, but the man who scored it didn't know what had just happened.
"I didn't realise we were tied or what the time was," Whittaker laughed. "I thought we were still losing and I couldn't understand why everyone was so happy.
"Lachie got me the offload and I just ran straight for the line."
Resorting to backyard football techniques, winger Josh Damen had to steady the ball as Mikaere Beattie slotted the kick to give the Jets a six-point victory as the buzzer sounded.
When he wasn't helping out the kicker, Damen was crossing the try line, scoring two of the Jets six tries and converting one himself.
With Francis Ledger, Ben Sullivan and Matthew Brown all scoring a try apiece, the Jets were well on their way to this weekend's preliminary final.
"They were pretty physical," Whittaker said of the Panthers. "We just got stuck in and were happy to come away with the win.
"Wynnum will want to redeem themselves next week so we have to be prepared. Last year we were in Redcliffe's position having the week off, but I think it's good that we can keep up the momentum."
In the battle of the top two, minor premiers Redcliffe went big over the second-placed Wynnum Manly Redland City Seagulls.
After sitting out the first week of finals, the Gulls were sent packing with a 51-16 scoreline at BMD Kougari Oval, meaning they will face Ipswich on Saturday at Emerson Park.