NSW Cup Rd 12 Illawarra 17 Newtown 32
The St George-Illawarra VB NSW Cup partnership club, the Illawarra Cutters, made the Newtown Jets earn their 32-17 victory at WIN Stadium last Saturday.by NRL
The St George-Illawarra VB NSW Cup partnership club, the Illawarra Cutters, made the Newtown Jets earn their 32-17 victory at WIN Stadium last Saturday. The Jets have had an ordinary record in road-trip away games in recent seasons and things looked ominous when the Jets trailed the Cutters 12-0 after twenty minutes. Newtown were down 13-12 at halftime but scored four tries in the game's third quarter to eventually win by a fifteen-points margin.
The Jets dominated territory and possession early in the first half but failed to breach the Illawarra defences. The Cutters scored from a well-placed cross-field kick the first time they came towards the Jets end of the field, and they scored a second try in the 20th minute after Newtown had been unable to break through solid Cutters defence on their own line. The Jets first try was scored by rugged front-rower Josh Ailaomai, who was also involved in Newtown's second try, an impressive display of teamwork that was completed by centre Justin Carney. The Cutters former New Zealand Test half Jeremy Smith snapped a field goal that gave the South Coast team a 13-12 halftime lead.
Jets coach Greg Matterson laid the challenge down to his forwards at the halftime break. He demanded more push and aggression through the middle, quicker play the balls and greater depth in running onto the ball. The Cutters had scored three times by advancing downfield on the back of Newtown's penalties and errors, while the Jets had taken a long time to register points despite being at Illawarra's end of the ground for an extended period.
The Newtown coaching triumvirate of Matterson, Darryl Neville and Dan Wortley would surely have been impressed with the Jets power-packed response after halftime. The points came in quick succession in the third quarter, with tries to the eagerly-supporting halfback Mark Kheirallah, a double to towering young prop forward Kane Evans, and one to winger Daniel Tupou following splendid approach work by backrower Andrew Pearn and centre Adam Henry. The Jets ran up a 32-13 lead by the 60th minute mark, with the Cutters adding one more try fifteen minutes out from fulltime.
The Jets coaching staff acknowledged the team's strong second half performance, especially the whirlwind of points in the third quarter. It was duly noted that the Cutters were under-strength due to call-ups to cover the Dragons representative commitments. The coaching staff made special mention of the top games turned in by the young trio of front-rowers in Isaac Liu, Josh Ailaomai and Kane Evans. Unfortunately Ailaomai received his marching orders for an incident in the last thirty seconds of the game and he will very likely face a period of suspension. Mercurial fullback Alofa Alofa suffered an ankle injury that may keep him out for at least one game.
The Newtown Jets have a bye this coming weekend (26th/27th May) and the players and staff will certainly enjoy the break after 15 games in succession, including trials. Newtown's next match will be when they confront Wentworthville at Henson Park on Saturday, 2nd June, with this 14th round VB NSW Cup match timed for kick-off at 3.00pm.
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