RD6 – Jets first win defies all the odds [30-22]

Report on the Round Six NSWRL VB NSW Cup match between Newtown and Wentworthville, played at Henson Park on Saturday, 12th April 2014.

The Newtown Jets broke through for their first win of the NSW Cup season when they defeated the Parramatta partnership club, Wentworthville, by 30-22 at Henson Park last Saturday. The Jets led the joint competition leaders 16-12 at half-time and kicked away to their final winning margin after Wentworthville had drawn level at 22-all midway through the second half. This win was a major reversal of footballing fortunes, as Newtown had been trounced by Wentworthville 44-10 at Ringrose Park only four weeks ago.

The win was also a great morale boost for this young Jets side, who had taken the field with a patched-up team that had been disrupted by late withdrawals and the non-availability of key players, as well as other players returning from long-term injury or were on debut for Newtown in the NSW Cup. Jets coach Greg Matterson had noted an atmosphere of controlled aggression amongst his players at the Thursday night training session, which he regarded as a good sign leading into such a high pressure game.

Wentworthville scored first with a try in the 10th minute that should have been contained by the Jets defence. Halfback Arana Taumata responded for Newtown in the 16th minute when he scored from a clever chip kick and regather effort. Barely five minutes later front-rower Ryan Verlinden ripped through some hesitant Wenty defence to score. Some missed one on one tackles enabled Wenty to draw level in the 23rd minute. Winger Chris Taripo scored Newtown’s third try in the 27th minute with the confidence and determination that he had displayed with the Cook Islands national team during the recent Rugby League World Cup.

At the half-time break coach Matterson urged his players to tighten up their defensive techniques and to shut down Wentworthville’s off-loads in tackles. Wenty had shown in the first half that they were at their most dangerous when allowed to off-load the ball to team-mates in support. Matterson stressed to the Jets players that they had been in similar half-time situations in the two previous weeks and they should not allow this winning opportunity to slip away.

The Jets scored early in the second half when powerhouse prop Saulala Houma crashed over to score from short range. The situation looked dire for Newtown when Wenty scored two quick tries to draw level at 22-all with 20 minutes remaining. The remainder of the game kept the crowd enthralled as the Jets staved off try-scoring chances by the visitors, and a penalty goal kicked by Arana Taumata edged Newtown ahead 24-22. The former Wauchope best and fairest winner Jordan Galloway made an electrifying 80-metres midfield dash that ended with Saulala Houma galloping in for his second try. Taumata added another penalty goal in the last minute of play to confirm Newtown’s thrilling victory.

The Jets coaching staff rated Jordan Galloway, Saulala Houma, Jack Siejka and David Harris as the best of the Newtown forwards, while Arana Taumata, Samisoni Langi and Shannon Gallant were the best of the backs. Second-rower Brad Croad made a strong debut and centre Rhyse Martin turned in an impressive defensive performance.

The Newtown Jets travel to the Sutherland Shire this Saturday (19th April) to take on the 2013 NSW Cup premiers, the Cronulla Sharks, at Remondis Stadium at 3.15pm. This match is a curtain-raiser to the Cronulla-Sutherland versus Sydney Roosters NYC and NRL fixtures.

Newtown’s team versus Wentworthville was:

Shannon Gallant, Jonathon Reuben, Rhyse Martin, Brad Barrett, Chris Taripo, Samisoni Langi, Arana Taumata, David Harris, Brad Croad, Jack Siejka, Saulala Houma, Jordan Galloway, Ryan Verlinden.

Bench: Andrew Pearn, Ray Moujalli, Jake Watts, Kem Seru.

Coach: Greg Matterson