Tino stars in Spacemen win
A hat trick by hooker Tino Ionatana underpinned the Parkes Spacemen is convincing 44 – 22 win over Narromine at Pioneer Oval yesterday.
Parkes scored eight tries to four to win comfortably after leading 18 – 6 at the break to retain the coveted Jim Fawkner Cup.
The Spacemen led 34 – 6 into the second half before the Jets reduced the margin to 34 - 22 to ensure Parkes finished full of running to claim the result.
While the Spacemen had many good players again, the diminutive Ionatana was simply outstanding.
He scored two close range tries and then galloped 90 metres for his hat trick.
Moreover, he tormented the Jets defence around the ruck to lay the platform for his pack.
Western Rams utility Jamie Szczerbanik was also superb in his 50 minutes on the field, charging into the Jets forward pack with ferocity, finesse, flair and authority in a powerhouse performance.
Astute judges rated his effort his best since joining the red, white and blues.
Halves Chad Porter and Dennis Moran were again instrumental in the win, Lincoln Taylor at the back extremely safe and upfront skipper Pat Rosser and the tireless Epi Sadrodo played strongly.
The win has the Spacemen equal second after five rounds, a point adrift of pacesetters Nyngan and with games against Wellington and Forbes to reach the halfway stage.
Earlier, a sensational four try performance by ageless flanker Marika Korovoi highlighted Parkes reserves’ 42 – 8 success while Parkes juniors won 30 – 24 to consolidate their top five prospects.
On the back of four penalties Parkes dominated the opening exchanges, the first try arriving after 14 minutes when hooker Tino Ionatana burrowed over from close range.
Moran made the second a minute later, racing 40 metres down a narrow blind to position Dan Johnson for 12 – 0.
Parkes invited the visitors back into the contest with consistent handling errors and a penalty earning a try after 35 minutes.
A Jets mistake from the restart however, enabled Ionatana to plunge over for 18 – 6 at the break.
Tries by Moran and Jake Dooley in the opening four minutes of the second session extended the Spacemen’s advantage to 28 – 6.
The best was yet to come however, when Ionatana gathered a short kick and raced 90 metres for a brilliant individual try which sent the Corner Boys into raptures.
With the issue beyond doubt at 34 – 6 after 55 minutes, Rosser took the opportunity to give his bench players valuable game time.
The visitors to their credit responded with two converted tries within six minutes to reduce the margin to a more respectable 34 – 18.
A Jets 40 – 20 ended with winger Hitchcock scoring 434 – 22 but the horse had effectively bolted.
In the final 10 minutes of an entertaining affair Moran limped from the field with a hamstring concern but the Spacemen steadied and Steve Dunn finished a sustained backline raid for Parkes’ seventh try to take the score to 38 – 22.
Dooley’s second try on the siren completed a convincing 44 – 22 win but Rosser will demand more of his troops for the difficult assignment in Wellington next week.
Parkes 44 (Tino Ionatana 3, Jake Dooley 2, Dan Johnson, Dennis Moran, Steve Dunn tries; Lincoln Taylor 6 goals) defeated Narromine 22 (S. Hitchcock, L. Harding, A. McDermott, M. Cape tries; Hitchcock 3 goals).