Plenty of tries as the Jets re-enter the winners circle
Newtown has won the Tommy Raudonikis Cup for 2007.
Saturday, 11 August, 3.30 pm
The Newtown Jets ended their painful sequence of losses when they defeated Western Suburbs 50-32 in the VB Premier League match played at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Jets also retained the Tom Raudonikis Cup for 2007, the trophy which is contested on an annual basis between the two 1908 foundation clubs.
Excitement - tries, quality play, then deplorable defence
The game itself was a madcap roller-coaster of a spectacle with no less than 15 tries scored between the two teams, a high error count and some deplorable defence. On the upside there were moments of drama and some genuinely high quality tries scored.
The Magpies had scored in the very first minute of play when they quickly exploited some disgracefully porous defence on Newtown's right side.
The Jets responded with a barrage of five tries to lead by 26-6 after only twenty-five minutes of play, but then lapsed into an extended spell of poor discipline, adventurous passing and lack of respect for possession.
Wests hit back with two tries and nearly added another runaway effort right on the stroke of halftime, to go in for the break 26-16 in arrears.
Magpies take the lead but Jets regain initiative
The Jets began the second half in as much disarray as they ended the first.
The Magpies dominated possession and territory early in the second session to the extent that Newtown didn't carry the ball into Wests' quarter until sixteen minutes into the second half.
In that time the Magpies had added two converted tries to take the lead by 28-26 and the visitors looked to be on their way to an unlikely victory. Only some exceptional individual efforts from the likes of
Shaun Kenny-Dowall, George Ndaira, Steve Meredith and
Frank-Paul Nuuausala enabled Newtown to stabilise and wrest back the initiative.
Ndaira grabbed his second try and regained the lead for Newtown after another of his will-of-the-wisp darting runs from dummy-half, but it was only
Shaun Kenny-Dowall's remarkably determined try in the north-eastern corner and his rather wobbly conversion from the sideline nine minutes out from fulltime that gave the Jets the relative safety margin of a 38-28 lead.
Newtown backrowers Grant Millington and captain Adam Schubert
added further tries on the end of some rather clever ballwork, but the Magpies had the last word with their sixth try right on fulltime.
A win is a win
As one senior Sydney Roosters official remarked after the match, "it certainly looked like a game between the competition's cellar dwellers but ultimately any win is a good win!"
The former Newtown 1970's backrower Paul Dawson was on hand to stand in for Tom Raudonikis and to present Jets skipper Adam Schubert with the winners' trophy.
Newtown's best players in the forwards were the hard-running Steve Meredith,
Danny Williams, Grant Millington and Frank-Paul Nuuausala - the latter player intrigued the crowd with his long-running duel with the bantam-weight Magpies fullback for much of the game.
Hooker George Ndaira's dummy-half forays were once again of great value.
Centres Troy Savage and Vince Mellars were two of Newtown's best backs, but it was fullback
Shaun Kenny-Dowall's inspirational second half performance that may well have turned the tide for the Jets just when the game seemed to be slipping from Newtown's grasp.
Jets utility backrower Hep Cahill had more field time than in
previous weeks and made a good contribution with some useful runs in the
second half, while Roosters Jersey Flegg youngsters Rohan Ahern and
Tommy Symonds made their debuts in the Newtown colours.
Former Australian Schoolboys captain and halfback Mitchell Pearce
made his comeback after an enforced layoff with a lower back injury and he
will be all the better with this run under his belt.
Steve Meredith, who is a good bet to be in the 2008 Samoan World
Cup squad, was the Alberto’s Pizzeria Restaurant Players’ Player award
George Ndaira 2, Rhys Pritchard, Vince Mellars, Mitchell Pearce, Steve
Meredith, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Grant Millington, Adam Schubert tries.
George Ndaira 6, Shaun Kenny-Dowall goals
Western Suburbs 32
Mark Hendy 2, Brendan Waters, Nathan Waters, Chance Bunce, Joel Bennett
Shannon Gallant 4 goals.
Half-Time: Newtown led 26-16.
The Newtown Jets return to Henson Park next Saturday, 18th August, for their second-last competition match of the 2007 season against the St George-Illawarra Dragons. This match kicks off at 3.00pm and will be preceded by an invitational curtain-raiser match at 1.00pm.