February's heavy rains in the Hunter region put paid to the Macquarie United-Newtown trial match going ahead at the Lyle Peacock Field, Toronto.
However, both clubs wanted the trial match to proceed so the trial went ahead, thanks to Matraville Sports High staff member Scott Murray who coached the Matraville Sports High Arrive Alive Cup winning team of 2007.
The Newtown club would like to thank Scott Murray and his fellow staff members at Matraville Sports High for making their oval and the school's excellent facilities available at such short notice.
How we secured our first win of 2008
The Newtown Jets grabbed a last-minute win, scoring a converted try in the last sixty seconds of play to claim the lead over Newcastle club Macquarie United for the first time in the match.
Macquarie United, known throughout the Hunter as the Scorpions, led by 10-4 after twenty minutes, 20-16 at half-time and 32-22 at the end of the third quarter.
Newtown's speed out wide and a surplus of possession in the final quarter enabled the Jets to sneak home, ultimately winning by 38-32 in what was a very even contest.
This was an excellent trial match for both clubs and Mal Graham's Scorpions are to be commended for their advanced levels of fitness and finesse. The match gave Newtown's coaching staff an invaluable opportunity to assess the quality of their 2008 triallists under full-blooded match conditions against well-drilled and determined opponents.
Among Newtown's better performers were
- Byron Ford, formerly with South Sydney and Hull Kingston Rovers
- Luke Branighan and Ben Green, who have both been with NRL clubs
- Jimmy Andersen, ex-Cowboys
- Luke Gordon, ex-Roosters and ex-Wests Tigers
- Hep Cahill, ex-Roosters
The surprise packet of the afternoon for Newtown was back-rower Trevor Richardson who was playing in his first-ever match of Rugby League football. Richardson hails from County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland and represented Ireland in the 2005 Under 21 Rugby Union World Cup in Argentina, as well as Connaught in Irish provincial representative Rugby Union.
Newtown's next assignment is a trial game against Balmain at the Sydney Football Stadium next Saturday afternoon, February 23rd, at 3.20pm. This match is an early curtain-raiser to the Sydney Roosters v Wests-Tigers Foundation Cup NRL trial match.
Coach Greg Matterson used 23 players in this trial, the majority of whom have been training four days a week since early November and have really earned the right to challenge for a place in the 2008 Newtown Jets NSW Cup squad.
Toshio Laiseni, Joe Phillippe
Mick Taouk, Byron Ford, Reece Ellis
Ali Karouche, Wayne Beh, Reece Savage
Luke Branighan, Steve Spillio
Ben Green, Luke Millwood
Daniel Green, Hep Cahill
Fonua Fale, Khalid Deeb, Trevor Richardson, Ray Moujalli
Samson Mariner, Jimmy Andersen, AJ Perenara
Luke Gordon, Tyrone Shelley.
Three Newtown registered players are on the injured list and did not play: Donny Thompson, Rhys Pritchard, Aaron Wheatley.
Macquarie United is coached by the former Newtown winger Mal Graham, who played with the club in 1982-83. Graham has earned a solid reputation as a coach over the past twenty years, with successful stints at Oldham (UK), the Newcastle Knights Premier League team, the Newcastle Division representative team, NSW Country Firsts and Western Suburbs (Newcastle).
Club historians Terry Williams and John Lynch pointed out that Newtown legend Brian "Chicka" Moore captain-coached Macquarie United in 1974-75 with considerable success - another link between the two clubs as they head into their first-ever trial match encounter on late Saturday afternoon.
v Balmain at the Sydney Football Stadium
Saturday, 23rd February - Kick-Off: 3.20pm.