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Saturday 23rd March
12:45pm
Shark Park

Mounties
The Fijian Rugby League international and Newtown Jets second-rower Junior Roqica looks to get his pass away against Wests Tigers at Henson Park on Saturday. Photo: Gary Sutherland Photography
The Fijian Rugby League international and Newtown Jets second-rower Junior Roqica looks to get his pass away against Wests Tigers at Henson Park on Saturday. Photo: Gary Sutherland Photography

No joy for the Jets in NSW Cup opening round

The Newtown Jets lost their first NSW Cup competition match as partners with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. The Jets went down 24-14 to Wests Tigers at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon, after having trailed 18-10 at halftime. The talented utility back Kyle Stanley suffered another serious knee injury which provided further bad news for the new Jets-Sharks alliance.

Newtown’s first half performance was marred by a lack of discipline and a spate of penalties that gave Wests Tigers territory and the opportunity to put pressure on the Jets at their end of the field. All four of Wests Tigers first half tries came through Newtown players conceding penalties or turning over possession. The Jets proved they could break the Tigers defensive line when they gained some possession and held onto the ball, with second-rower Junior Roqica (8th minute) and centre Sami Sauiluma (37th minute) scoring tries from well-executed passing movements.

Jets coach Greg Matterson sent his players back onto the field for the second half with these instructions – they needed to improve their defensive effort, impose more authority in their tackles , get to their kicks and put more pressure on the Tigers playmakers and kickers.

The second half was a hard-fought struggle and the game was there for Newtown to win. The Jets had a bigger share of possession in the second half but at this early stage of the season didn’t quite gel as a combination. Fullback Nathan Gardner was tackled just short of the line in the 53rd minute and winger Blake Judd scored in the 56th, courtesy of a superbly-delivered pass from the former Brisbane Norths halfback Todd Murphy. The Jets looked to be about to go in for the kill with the tiring Tigers hanging on to an 18-14 lead, but they couldn’t quite apply the finishing touches. Wests Tigers broke away to score four minutes from fulltime to seal the result.

Wests Tigers dominance of possession in the first half played a significant role in this result. The Tigers had an 83 per cent completion rate for the match but Newtown’s handling and discipline were much improved in the second half. As coach Matterson noted after fulltime, “our boys certainly fought back into this game in the second half but weren’t sufficiently on their game to claim the result”. This Newtown team was playing together for the first time and there will be better days ahead. Kyle Stanley’s injury was a serious blow to the player stocks of both the Jets and Sharks.

The Newtown Jets travel away next Saturday (14th March) to play the 2014 Grand Finalists, the Newcastle Knights. This second round match is to be played at the Kurri Kurri Rugby League ground (Allworth Street, Kurri) and kicks off at 3.00pm.

Image: mafphotography

THROW BACK THURSDAY – PROVING THE POINT TO MOUNTIES AT MOORE PARK

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Newtown Jets Team List v Mounties Sat 23rd March, 2019

Strongly-built Newtown Jets forward Siosifa Talakai is on the rampage as he takes on these Newcastle Knights defenders at the McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday afternoon (!5th March). Jets halfback Jack A. Williams is on the left of this image. Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Jets well beaten in Canterbury Cup NSW opening round

No doubt Greg Eastwood (centre) has met many knowledgeable rugby league people in the course of his long and distinguished career in the NRL and in international rugby league. Almost certainly though he has never met two more dedicated and fair dinkum rugby league activists than Mike Shannon (left) and John “The Phantom Bluebag” Lynch (right). This impressive trio was photographed discussing “pertinent rugby league matters” at the Newtown RLFC 2019 Season Launch at the Petersham RSL Club on Tuesday, 12th March. Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Here are further Newtown Jets team details for Round One of the 2019 Canterbury Cup NSW

Image: mafphotography

#THROWBACKTHURSDAY – HERB NARVO: FROM NEWCASTLE TO NEWTOWN

Image: mafphotography

Newtown Jets Team List v Newcastle Knights Fri 15th March, 2019

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