Panthers hand the Jets a second-half reality check [18-42]
Round 3 was played in fine, sunny and mild weather at Henson Park.
Newtown and the Penrith Panthers were locked up at 12-all in Saturday’s VB Premier League match at Henson Park, but a sub-standard second half performance from the Jets saw Penrith coast home to an easy 42-18 win.
Last minute changes disrupt preparation
The Jets fielded a considerably changed line-up from the winning combination in Auckland the previous Sunday. Halfback Josh Lewis was ruled out on Thursday and Kiwi international centre Iosia Soliola was a late recall to the Roosters NRL squad on Saturday morning.
Failure to capitalise on good start in first half
Newtown began promisingly when Jamie Soward’s pinpoint corner kick was cleverly flicked back inside for replacement centre Rory Kostjasyn to score. Soward converted from wide out for the Jets to lead 6-0.
Penrith equalised in the 20th minute courtesy of a ludicrously soft intercept try.
The Jets looked more impressive when in possession but a poor completion rate, pushed passes and several missed scoring opportunities prevented the home side from setting up a commanding halftime lead.
Soward laid on a brilliant individual try 4 minutes from halftime which he also converted, but the Panthers equalised through another easily-taken try right on the forty minutes mark.
Mistakes and penalties kill Jets' opportunities
Newtown looked ready to take control of the second half when Soward sent a 40/20 kick tumbling end over end into the northern left-hand corner but when the Jets turned over possession in the following set, this seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the second half.
The Panthers regained the lead with a dummy-half try in the 45th minute, and then added converted tries in the 55th, 64th and 65th minutes that took the contest well beyond Newtown’s reach.
The Jets turned in another poor completion rate in the second half, conceded a stream of penalties that enabled the Panthers to repeatedly get clear of their danger zone, as well as narrowly missing two try-scoring chances that might well have kept them in the game.
Soward and hooker George Ndaira combined neatly five minutes from fulltime for Ndaira to dash in under the posts, but it was all far too late for the club that has made an art-form of barnstorming second half finishes in the past two seasons.
Performances to note
Soward predictably was the players’ player award winner and he received best support in the backs from Rory Kostjasyn and Aaron Lai. Newtown’s best forwards were Heath L’Estrange, George Ndaira, Danny Williams and Hep Cahill.
The Jets face a tough assignment in Round 4 when they travel to the Energy Australia Stadium to take on the highly-rated Newcastle Knights VB Premier League team.
Game day raffle
The Newtown Jets thank the generous donors of game day raffle and player prizes.