Newtown Jets nightmare continues with one-point loss to Knights [18-19]
Saturday, 21 July, 5.30 pm
Newtowns heart-breaking VB Premier League season continued on Saturday evening when the Jets lost 19-18 to the Newcastle Knights at Energy Australia Stadium.
The Knights took the lead for the first time in the match through a 45-metre field goal with just four minutes left to play, reawakening dark memories of last years narrow Grand Final loss to Parramatta in extra time.
Jets dominate scoring in first half
Newtown had led 12-0 at halftime and 18-0 fourteen minutes into the second half. The Knights then switched to a clever and varied short-kicking game, and assisted by blustery rain showers and their speed out of dummy-half, the Knights gradually closed in on their quarry.
Rory Kostjasyn drives through the line
George Ndaira splits the Knights defence
Dale Newton scores, Danny Williams celebrates
The first half had been a tight contest with no points registered until the twenty-sixth minute when the livewire George Ndaira put interchange forward Dale Newton in under the posts at the Stadiums southern end.
Both sides had missed earlier scoring chances but it was already apparent that the Knights were deploying a more effective kicking game.
Ndaira was Newtowns standout player on the night, and he scored a brilliant individual try in the 33rd minute, not unlike a try he had scored against the Knights at Henson Park back in early June. The Jets went in at the half-time break twelve points to the better.
Jets score first in second half
The Jets began the second half confidently and put on a couple of very solid early sets. In the fourteenth minute Ndaira positioned impressive young backrower Anthony Cherrington who displayed admirable strength and determination as he bullocked his way through several tacklers to score in the north-western corner. Shaun Foley converted from out wide for the Jets to lead 18-0.
Driving rain marks the turning point
Heavy rain showers began to fall and the Knights switched to a crafty short-kicking game that began to break up Newtowns hitherto iron-clad defensive pattern, with the Knights scoring from a chip-kick in the 21st minute. Jets winger John Williams nearly brought off a spectacular intercept several minutes later that may well have wrapped up the game.
In the tension of the last fifteen minutes, it was always going to be the side that protected possession, played out their sets and eliminated errors that would prevail. The Knights scored their second converted try after the Jets had surrendered possession at their own end, a depressingly-familiar scenario in recent games.
The Knights then equalised after a Newtown forward had been baited into conceding a reckless penalty, giving the rampant Knights excellent field position. Four minutes out from fulltime the Knights halfback struck a long-distance field goal that never looked like missing, much to the delight of the 15,000 strong crowd.
George Ndaira was unchallenged as Newtowns best on the ground, but he received worthy support from Mickey Paea, Steve Meredith, Danny Williams, Grant Millington, Adam Schubert, Anthony Cherrington and Troy Savage.
Wingers Vince Mellars and John Williams made some strong runs into the rucks in the first half, but the Knights dominated possession at the business end of the match.
Newtown led 12-0 at half-time.
Referee: Bernard Sutton.
Playing surface: Excellent.
Weather: Fine, windy, very cold. Rain during the second half.
The Jets take on the Balmain Tigers in an all inner-western local derby next Monday evening (30th July) with this match kicking off at Leichhardt Oval at 4.50pm. The match is a curtain-raiser to the Wests-Tigers v Cowboys NRL match at 7.00pm, and is also the deciding rubber for the Trevor Ryan-Neil Pringle Shield for 2007.