Knights Miss NRL State Championship
The NRL State Championship remains in Queensland after the Ipswich Jets claimed a 26-12 victory over VB NSW Cup champions, Newcastle Knights.
Clint Newton's fairytale was cut short after he and his Knights succumbed to a flamboyant Jets outfit, who proved too good in the NRL State Championship's second year.
It was Queensland's The Northern Pride who took out last year's inaugural decider, and despite Newcastle's best efforts to claim the prized championship, the Jets ensured the cup would stay north of the border.
In a first half heavily dominated by the Queensland-based side, the Jets took a commanding 14-point lead into the break as they ran in three tries to Newcastle's one.
Jets hooker Matt Parcell opened the scoring when he darted out of dummy half from close range to squeeze in between the Newcastle defence and score.
12 minutes in and Ipswich had their second as Billy McConnachie muscled his way over the line. A penalty goal soon after had the Jets in front 14-0, but the Knights, through interchange hooker George Ndaira, hit back as he burrowed under the Jets' defence from close range.
Despite the Jets' dominant opening, the Knights were slowly working their way back into the match, but a fumble from Newcastle cost them dearly as Ipswich winger Marmin Barba pounced on the loose ball and ran 80 metres to hand his side a 20-6 half time lead.
The break proved the best thing for the Knights as they came out with plenty of intensity and direction. The man who scored Newcastle's first try soon became the instigator for his side's second when he took on the line and sent halfback Jaelen Feeney over the line for his eighth try in as many games.
Newcastle's leading try scorer, Honeti Tuha, came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit back to within a try when he chased a neat deft grubber from his inside centre Joseph Tapine. First to the ball, Tuha was denied from his opposite winger as he was held up with the ball just inches from the turf.
Again, the Knights were denied, this time hooker Danni Levi was held up courtesy of some strong Jets defence. Newcastle were applying plenty of pressure and appeared to have crossed but a contentious forward pass would deny the Knights a try.
The Jets' relentless defence was soon rewarded as they crossed through prop forward Rod Griffin. The mobile forward showed off his fancy foot work to seal victory for his side.