The Newtown Jets were narrowly beaten 28-26 by St George-Illawarra in the Intrust Super Premiership Qualifying Final played at Panthers Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The teams were locked together 16-all at halftime, with Newtown’s three tries being scored by winger Matt Evans (2) and second-rower Briton Nikora.
Jets in-form five-eighth Jack A. Williams left the field early in the second half with a leg injury, and Matt Evans was also forced from the field just minutes later.
The Dragons kicked a penalty goal soon after half-time but Newtown struck back with well-constructed tries to centre Reubenn Rennie and fullback Will Kennedy. The Jets led 26-18 with 12 minutes left to play, but critical handling errors and missed tackles at the back end of the game proved costly.
St George-Illawarra pulled back to trail 26-24 seven minutes out from fulltime, and then were awarded a most controversial try in the 77th minute that gave them a two-point lead.
Forwards Briton Nikora, Jimmy Jolliffe and Blayke Brailey were rated as being three of Newtown’s best players on the day.
The Jets must now regroup and get ready for next Saturday’s elimination semi-final against Mounties.
Here are the details for next Saturday’s match:
NSWRL Intrust Super Premiership NSW – Elimination Semi-final
Saturday, 8th September 2018
UOW Jubilee Oval (Kogarah Oval)
Newtown v Mounties
Sunday’s Qualifying Final details were:
St George-Illawarra 28:
Shaun Sauni-Esau 2, Reuben Garrick, Adam Clune, Patrick Herbert tries;
Darren Nicholls 4 goals
Matt Evans 2, Briton Nikora, Will Kennedy, Reubenn Rennie tries;
Kyle Flanagan 3 goals.
Referee: Damian Briscoe
Touch Judges: Liam Nicholls and Jake Sutherland
In-Goal: Damian Brady and Clayton Wills.
Playing surface at Panthers Stadium: Excellent.
Weather: 16 degrees Celsius, sharp breeze.
Newtown’s team was:
Will Kennedy, Matt Evans, Aaron Gray, Reubenn Rennie, Sione Katoa, Jack A. Williams, Kyle Flanagan, Wes Lolo, Blayke Brailey, Ava Seumanufagai, Briton Nikora, Anthony Moraitis, Jaimin Jolliffe.
Interchange: Billy Magoulias, Addison Demetriou, Malakai Houma, Matthew Jurd.
Coach: Greg Matterson.
Patrick Herbert, John Tohi, Reuben Garrick, Steve Marsters, Shaun Sauni-Esau, Jai Field, Darren Nicholls, Pio Sokobalavu, Reece Robson, Mitchell Allgood, Jackson Ford, Jacob Host, Hame Sele.
Interchange: Joe Lovodua, Damien Sironen, Josh Kerr, Adam Clune.
Coach: Mat Head.