Saturday, 15 March
OKI Jubilee Stadium
7 tries, 5 conversions, 1 penalty
2 tries, 1 conversion
The Newtown Jets defeated Cronulla-Sutherland by 40-10 in the inaugural round of the VB NSW Cup competition, played at the OKI Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.
Jets withstand early barrage
The Jets had led 18-10 at halftime and kept Cronulla scoreless for the entire second half, but had to work hard to gain the ascendancy in oppressive playing conditions.
Newtown had performed impressively in the four trial games but made heavy weather in the opening fifteen minutes against a physically powerful Cronulla-Sutherland team.
After a somewhat nervous start, the Jets withstood the early barrage and scored converted tries in the 15th, 18th and 27th minutes. Newtown's first half defence was solid with both of Cronulla's tries coming from kicks.
Error rate rises with humid conditions and reduced interchange
Both team registered high completion rates in the first half but the heat and humidity was to take its toll in the second session.
The Jets scored 22 points to nil in the second half as their speed and flair troubled the big Cronulla side. Both teams' completion rates fell away markedly as the new ten-man interchange rule impacted upon the fatigue and error-rate levels.
Newtown coach Greg Matterson reported that he was happy with the Jets' overall performance and noted that good trials form counts for nothing once the pressure of the competition rounds kicks in, and while there had been no standout Newtown contributors, there had been plenty of willing workers.
- Newtown's fullback Donny Thompson impressed in his debut competition match for the Jets - he returns the ball confidently and filled in well at centre later in the match.
- Centres Mitch Aubusson and Kiwi international Sam Perrett were outstanding in defence with Aubusson claiming two tries in the second half.
- Halves Luke Branighan and Ben Green continue to combine well and winger Byron Ford showed all the experience of his three years in the English Super League.
- Newtown was best served in the forwards by the mobile backrow of captain Jimmy Andersen, Mickey Paea and Danny Howard, as well as front-rowers Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Steve Meredith.
- Hooker Luke Gordon turned in a lively performance, despite having been sidelined during the trials due to a carryover 2007 suspension.
- One of the entertainment highlights of the afternoon was the try scored by former Hull Kingston Rovers winger Byron Ford, courtesy of a bizarre banana kick from benchman Luke Millwood which totally defied all the known laws of Physics.
The Newtown Jets return home to the refurbished Henson Park next Saturday, 22 March, for a Centenary of Rugby League encounter with fellow 1908 foundation club Western Suburbs.
As this match is in the first in the 2008 Tom Raudonikis Cup series, the great man himself will be in attendance for this inner-western Sydney showdown. The match is timed to kick-off at 4.30pm.