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Jets dig deep for hard-fought win

Both teams went into last Saturday's 18th round VB NSW Cup match at Henson Park at less than full strength, but it was the Newtown Jets who came away with the two hard-won competition points.
Jets dig deep for hard-fought win

Both teams went into last Saturday’s 18th round VB NSW Cup match at Henson Park at less than full strength, but it was the Newtown Jets who came away with the two hard-won competition points. The Jets defeated the second-placed Newcastle Knights 26-14 after setting up a commanding 22-6 lead by half-time. Newtown had to draw on injured players and others with relatively little NSW Cup game time this season, and the team can look back on this win with justified pride.

Former Knight Josh Ailaomai scored Newtown’s first try in the 10th minute after the Jets had forced two goal-line drop-outs on the visitors. The Knights responded in the 20th minute with a try to former Test and State of Origin centre Timana Tahu, who looked dangerous every time he was in possession. The Jets dominated the game’s second quarter and scored three more tries before half-time. Hooker Nafe Seluini sent Henare Wells in for his 13th try of the season, and he was also involved in a try by winger Paul Rokolati in the left-side southern corner. Seluini scored himself when he backed up the flying Wells, who had in turn been set free by a deft midfield off-load from big Saulala Houma. It was an impressive and productive twenty minutes for the Jets and sent them into the break with a 22-6 lead.

Despite supplying four players to the NSW Cup representative team, the Knights still had enough quality personnel to hit back hard in the second half. The Novocastrians dominated the game’s third quarter and stretched Newtown’s defensive capability to the limit. The Knights scored an unconverted try to trail by 22-10 but Jets halves Ben Jones and Ryley Jacks combined well for Jacks to score from a well-controlled grubber kick by Jones. Tahu kept his team in the game through his second try with fifteen minutes left to play. There was no further scoring by either side and while the Jets made a few hair-raising errors and have yet to master the ability to close a game out effectively, they held on to win by 26-14.

For the Jets, this was a game where every player lifted their performance and made up for players missing through injury, regular team captain Tinirau Arona being on representative team duty and with not as many Roosters players being available for selection. Veteran forward Khalid Deeb insisted on being available and played despite not being fully fit, while backs Ivan Penehe and Pierce Sapsford who have played very little NSW Cup rugby league this season were more than willing to step up to help the team. Acting captain Kurt Kara was outstanding as both hooker and lock and played the full eighty minutes. All the Jets forwards contributed and mixed it up with the very physical Newcastle pack. Nafe Seluini’s class in attack was crucial in the second quarter when the Jets set up a substantial lead. Halves Ben Jones and Ryley Jacks worked together well and look to be forming an effective combination at the right time of the season.

The 5th placed Newtown Jets are back again at Henson Park next Saturday, 20th July, when they will take on the physically-imposing and 6th placed Auckland Vulcans at 3.00pm. The VB NSW Cup curtain-raiser at 1.00pm on Saturday features the competition leaders Cronulla Sharks in an all-southern local derby with the men in scarlet, the Illawarra Cutters.

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

Newtown Jets 26:
Tries: Josh Ailaomai, Henare Wells, Paul Rokolati, Nafe Seluini, Ryley Jacks
Goals: Paul Rokolati 3
Team: 1 Henare Wells, 2 Paul Rokolati, 3 Yileen “Buddy” Gordon, 4 Adam Henry, 16 Ivan Penehe, 6 Ben Jones, 7 Ryley Jacks, 8 Ray Moujalli, 9 Kurt Kara, 10 Khalid Deeb, 11 Ryan Verlinden, 12 Brad Barrett, 13 Josh Ailaomai. Interchange: 14 Andrew Pearn, 17 Saulala Houma, 18 Nafe Seluini, 20 Pierce Sapsford. Coach: Greg Matterson.


Newcastle Knights 14:
Tries: Timana Tahu 2, Chanel Mata’Utia
Goals: Adrian Davis
Team: Will Smith, Nathan Ross, Timana Tahu, Siuatonga Likiliki, Chanel Mata’Utia, Tyler Randell, Adam Davis, Mitchell Frei, Anthony Quinn, Zane Tetevano, Toka Likiliki, Dylan Smith, Chris Adams. Interchange: Chad Redman, Dylan Hartin, Paterika Vaivai, Ben Tupou. Coach: Rick Stone.

Half-Time: Newtown led 22-6
Referee: Brett Suttor
Touch Judges: John Woods and Scott Shepherd
Playing surface: Very good
Weather: Fine, partly cloudy, 17 degrees

The match timeline:

10th minute: Josh Ailaomai try, Paul Rokolati conversion. Newtown 6-0
20th minute: Timana Tahu try, Adrian Davis conversion. 6-all
24th minute: Henare Wells try, Paul Rokolati conversion. Newtown 12-6
31st minute: Paul Rokolati try, not converted. Newtown 16-6
36th minute: Nafe Seluini try, Paul Rokolati conversion. Newtown 22-6
Half-Time: Newtown led 22-6
52nd minute: Chanel Mata’Utia try, not converted. Newtown 22-10
61st minute: Ryley Jacks try, not converted. Newtown 26-10
65th minute: Timana Tahu try, not converted. Newtown 26-14
Full-Time: Newtown 26-14

Results of other VB NSW Cup matches played this weekend:

Wentworthville 20 defeated Manly-Warringah 10 at Parramatta Stadium.

All other clubs had byes this weekend.

Newtown’s next match:

NSWRL VB NSW Cup 19th Round
Saturday, 20th July 2013
Henson Park
Newtown Jets v Auckland Vulcans
Kick-Off: 3.00pm

Curtain-Raiser at Henson Park next Saturday (20th July):
Cronulla Sharks v Illawarra Cutters
Kick-Off: 1.00pm

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