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Henare Wells late try saves the Jets

The Newtown Jets can count themselves as being rather lucky to come away with the competition points against Wentworthville Magpies at Henson Park last Saturday.
Henare Wells late try saves the Jets

The Newtown Jets can count themselves as being rather lucky to come away with the competition points against Wentworthville Magpies at Henson Park last Saturday.

The Jets were saved by a dramatic 78th minute try by fullback Henare Wells, with winger Paul Rokolati’s conversion giving Newtown a chancy 28-26 win. Wentworthville had led 20-12 at half-time after the Jets had turned in a sub-standard first half. Both teams were below full strength and the sunny weather attracted a healthy attendance to Henson Park, in stark contrast to the pouring rain and leaden skies of the previous home-game occasion.

Wentworthville scored a runaway try in the second minute of play, thanks to some shameful Newtown defensive efforts. The Jets showed all the signs of not being switched on to play with a succession of possession turnovers, missed tackles and wayward passes. Despite the unpromising start, Newtown clicked into gear around the 15th minute mark and scored two quick tries, one each to Henare Wells and Adam Henry. The Jets slipped back into their shoddy defensive habits in the game’s second quarter, as Wentworthville scored three more tries to lead 20-12 at the break.

The Jets reversed their trend in recent weeks of beginning the second half slowly, and in this game scored two converted tries soon after half-time. Hooker Nafe Seluini scored from close range and Henare Wells claimed his second, with Chris Taripo’s two conversions putting Newtown back into the lead by 22-20. Wentworthville regained the lead midway through the second half and the Jets’ errors and penalties didn’t inspire confidence of any comeback. Wentworthville’s on-line defence held on the few occasions that the Jets looked likely to score. Henare Wells showcased his speed and talent for backing up midfield as he sliced through in the 78th minute for the equalising try. It was then left to winger Paul Rokolati to do the honours by kicking the match-winning conversion.

Both teams were certainly down in strength as is usually the case two-thirds of the way through the competition rounds and with the impact of injuries and representative commitments. Ben Jones made a useful return to playing duties after a lengthy absence due to a foot injury, and long-serving prop Khalid Deeb also returned after also being unavailable for several weeks due to injury.

The Newtown coaching staff made the post-match observation that the Jets might have been influenced by the absence of players with NRL experience on the Wentworthville team sheet. Wenty’s surplus of possession in the first half along with Newtown’s tackle-shy performance would have been fatal against stronger teams. Josh Ailaomai and Brad Barrett were mentioned as being among Newtown’s best players and Henare Wells’ three tries made a vital contribution to the Jets’ victory.

Congratulations to Newtown’s team captain Tinirau Arona who has won selection in the NSW Cup representative team to play their Queensland counterparts as the main curtain-raiser to State of Origin III. The Jets face very tough opposition this Saturday (13th July) at Henson Park in the second-placed Newcastle Knights. This 18th round VB NSW Cup match gets underway at the usual kick-off time of 3.00pm.

NSWRL VB NSW Cup 17th Round
Saturday, 6th July 2013
Henson Park
Newtown Jets v Wentworthville Magpies
Kick-Off: 3.00pm

Newtown Jets 28
Tries: Henare Wells 3, Adam Henry, Nafe Seluini
Goals: Chris Taripo 3, Paul Rokolati
Team: 1 Henare Wells, 2 Paul Rokolati, 3 Yileen "Buddy" Gordon, 6 Adam Henry, 5 Chris Taripo, 12 Brad Barrett, 7 Ryley Jacks, 13 Josh Ailaomai, 11 Tinirau Arona (Capt), 14 Andrew Pearn, 8 Ray Moujalli, 9 Kurt Kara, 10 Khalid Deeb. Interchange: 15 Ben Jones, 17 Saulala Houma, 21 Ryan Verlinden, 26 Nafe Seluini. Coach: Greg Matterson.


Wentworthville Magpies 26
Tries: Semi Radradra 2, Takai Moeakiola 2, Dean Parata
Goals: Ben Fritz 3
Team: Ben Fritz, Semi Radradra, Dylon Gilbert, Takai Moeakiola, Charlie Herekotukutuku, Luke Kelly, Brendan Waters, Lorenzo Ma-afu, Danny Howard, Manu Mau, Nathan Armit, Nathan Smith, Joseph Ualesi. Interchange: Dean Parata, Tyrone Viiga, Valu Nasio, Shaun Jackson, Walter Vaeau. Coach: Brett Cook.

Half-Time: Wentworthville led 20-12
Referee: Michael Laverty
Touch Judges: Jay Farlow and Peter Sciberras
Playing surface: Very good
Weather: Fine, sunny, mild, 15 degrees

Other VB NSW Cup matches played this weekend: Cronulla Sharks 26 defeated Windsor 24; Manly-Warringah 26 defeated Illawarra Cutters 24; Wests Tigers 40 defeated Mounties 18; Newcastle Knights 38 defeated Canterbury-Bankstown 20; North Sydney 26 defeated Wyong 14. Auckland Vulcans had the bye.

Newtown's next match:

NSWRL VB NSW Cup 18th Round
Saturday, 13th July 2013
Henson Park
Newtown Jets v Newcastle Knights
Kick-Off: 3.00pm


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