The Newtown Jets get back with the program [30-10]
Saturday, 12 May, 3.00 pm
The Canberra Raiders might have scored the first and last tries of the match, but the Newtown Jets claimed the all-important competition points in the VB Premier League game played at Henson Park on Saturday.
Newtown won by 30-10 after running up a commanding 24-4 lead at halftime. This was both a badly-needed win and partial return to form for the Jets in what was also Newtown's first win at home this season.
Raiders get a good start but Jets respond quickly
The Raiders scored early in the first half when a seemingly harmless kick into the Jets in-goal wasn't cleaned up effectively.
The Jets responded quickly when five-eighth Rory Kostjasyn broke through some threadbare Raiders defence after Newtown had forced a scrum fifteen metres out from the Raiders' line.
Five minutes later powerhouse Jets second-rower Nigel Plum burst into a gap courtesy of a neatly delivered pass from hooker and captain Heath L'Estrange, and then offloaded superbly to the eagerly-supporting halfback Jamie Soward.
Winger John Williams converted both tries to enable Newtown to lead 12-4 after as many minutes of play.
Jets maintain ascendency with strong defence
Newtown then withstood an extended period of sustained pressure from the Raiders in what was probably the Jets' best exhibition of committed goal-line defence this year.
At one stage the Jets held solid against four consecutive sets from the Raiders in what must have been a great boost to the Jets' collective confidence.
Classy combinations bring more points
Soward and Williams combined for both of Newtown's next two tries, the first of which involved the classy halfback kicking accurately to the left-side corner for Williams to catch the ball cleanly and evade two Raiders defenders to score.
The second came two minutes before halftime when Soward grubber-kicked towards the Raiders in-goal with the ball ricocheting off a Raiders defender for the accomplished Jets winger to claim his second try.
Williams converted both of his own tries for Newtown to lead 24-4 at the break.
Canberra give little ground in second half
The Jets' first half performance had been notable for the disciplined defensive display, a well applied kick-chase game and improved ball retention.
Canberra began their second half ominously with former NRL halfback Michael Dobson starting to call the shots and lay on variations. Newtown's only second half try came in the tenth minute through a Raiders handling error at their end of the field, with the loose ball being smartly snapped up by Jets winger Troy Savage who ran unchallenged to the line.
The second half was memorable for some full-blooded physical exchanges and body charges between both sets of forwards, highlighted by the fearsome Nigel Plum laying on rib-crunching tackles on two unfortunate Raiders opponents both in the same set of possession.
Newtown missed some scoring opportunities in the half that took the sharp edge off what had been a very much improved performance on recent outings.
Players' player award to Nigel Plum
Nigel Plum deservedly won the players' player award on the basis of his strong all-round performance, and he received best support in the forwards from Heath L'Estrange, George Ndaira, Danny Williams and Grant Millington.
John Williams continued to impress with another quality wing display and also showed that he is no slouch as a goal-kicker with five conversions from five attempts. Jamie Soward, fullback Shaun Foley and winger Troy Savage were the pick of the rest of the Newtown backs.
Frank Hyde Shield under challenge next Friday night
The coveted Frank Hyde Shield goes on the line next Friday night (18th May) at North Sydney Oval when the Newtown Jets and the North Sydney Bears meet for the one and only time in this year's VB Premier League draw.
The Bears have been one of the hot performers in this year's competition and are particularly keen to reclaim the Shield in their 100th season.
This much-anticipated showdown between two of Rugby League's 1908 foundation clubs gets underway at 7.00pm