Young Jets gain redemption through second half resurgence
Newtowns 2007 VB Premier League trials program finished at the Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford on Saturday evening when the Jets went down 36-16 to last year's premiers Parramatta.
Hit out for youngsters before season starts
Newtown fielded another very young team made up of Jersey Flegg players and Premier League triallists.
Several of these youngsters had played in the Roosters SG Ball team last year so they have actually played in three full Premier League trials before they have ever stepped onto the field in a Jersey Flegg fixture.
Highs and lows of first half
The Jets trailed 12-0 after ten minutes in this match but then regrouped to put in a very solid 25 minutes in which they really aimed up against the near full-strength Parramatta side.
Newtown pulled back to 12-6 following an exceptional try where the ball was moved through several pairs of hands, first to the left side and then a sweeping movement to the right which saw Jets lock Joseph Cahill crash over in the northern right-side corner.
Hooker Anthony Watts obliged by converting the try from the touchline. A disastrous five minutes late in the first half, with some indecisiveness in the Newtown right-side defence, saw Parramatta pile on three converted tries to go in at the break with a 30-6 lead.
Half-time 'coaching' saw Jets win second half honours
Coach Paul Young emphasised in his half-time address that this trial wasn't about the scoreboard, but about how each player could cope with the pressure of playing against strong Premier League opposition, and how much each man would ensure there were no cheap penalties, no undisciplined plays through frustration and no soft missed tackles.
The team responded in turn with a solid second half which the Jets "won" by 10-6, with Parramattas only try coming very late in the second half.
Front-rowers Stanley Waqa and Dale Newton led the way in this match with their determined charges and high work-rate while second-rower Danny Williams turned in yet another wholehearted effort in attack and defence.
Anthony Watts looked to be in good touch as a major playmaker and five-eighth Rory Kostjasyn tackled anything wearing blue and gold colours.
Fullback Aaron Lai returned the ball confidently and looks to have recovered well from the bad off-field head injuries he suffered last year.
This was a more than useful trial match played in humid and oppressive conditions that really sorted out those players who are determined to gain Premier League selection.
In the next two weeks there will be a large infusion of players who have been turning out with distinction in the Roosters successful NRL trials campaign so Newtown will certainly be fielding a very strong side in the opening round of the Jets' 100th season in Rugby League football, when we take on last year's Preliminary Finalists, St George-Illawarra, at Henson Park on Saturday, March 17th (St Patrick's Day) with this match kicking off at 4.30pm.