6.00 pm, Friday, 20 June
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]
The Newtown Jets claimed two precious competition points when they defeated Western Suburbs 42-28 in the VB NSW Cup match played at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Friday night.
Newtown led 28-20 at halftime and had to defend for extended periods in the second half when the Magpies had plenty of possession and good field position.
Newtown's win came at a price, with a lengthy injury toll that left the Jets shorthanded on the bench for most of the second half.
Wests match Newtown try-scoring in first half
Newtown scored first in the match through five-eighth Sean Rudder but the Jets had a real contest on their hands as the 5th placed Magpies returned fire with two quick tries.
Newtown then took control during the next fifteen minutes as Rudder (twice), winger Byron Ford (from a Rudder kick) and front-rower Steve Meredith added tries, with halfback Ben Green guiding over three conversions. This 28-10 lead was reduced as Wests added two more tries just prior to halftime.
Even a grainy photo shows the brilliance of Shaun 'Axel' Foley as he unloads at the line.
Jets rally in second half to counter Magpies early tries
The Magpies were right back in the game with another converted try two minutes into the second half.
The Jets rallied through clever tries from prop Ray Moujalli and halfback Ben Green, the latter try coming from a superb offload from fullback Shaun Foley.
Newtown kept Wests scoreless for the next twenty minutes and despite the injury attrition rate, really applied themselves in defence.
The Jets final points for the night came from the unlikely kicking boot of backrower Mickey Paea as he steered over a penalty goal right on fulltime.
Classy five-eighth Sean Rudder finished with three tries, ten stitches in a gaping head gash and a broken nose - and still had the good humour to wisecrack about how much he enjoyed playing at Campbelltown on a winter's night.
Prop Steve Meredith was a real powerhouse for Newtown with the ball and in defence, and won the players' player award. Meredith observed after the match that it was the most confident he had felt since resuming playing in mid-2007 following knee reconstruction surgery.
Mickey Paea once again made valuable metres when they were most needed and he also sported several facial war wounds at the game's end.
Centre Rhys Pritchard and backrowers Khalid Deeb and Daniel Green all suffered hand injuries while lock Jimmy Andersen was hobbling with a corked thigh, on a night when club medico Bassam Moses really earned his pay.
Jets coach Greg Matterson said at fulltime that while every win was a bonus, there had been too many missed tackles and too many foolish penalties in a match where Ben Green's goal-kicking disguised the fact that Newtown had only scored one more try than the Magpies.
The win guaranteed that the Jets would retain the Tom Raudonikis Cup for 2008.
Newtown 42 - 7 tries, 7 goals
Western Suburbs 28 - 6 tries, 2 goals
Referee: Rickey McFarlane
Touch judges: Jimmy Oliveira, Andrew Zapantis
Playing surface: First class.
Weather: Cool and mild.
[Take a step back in time. Last year's Cup victory saw the Jets re-enter the winning circle.]
Newtown faces another tough away game next Saturday against Canterbury-Bankstown at The Crest Stadium, Bass Hill, with this match timed to start at 2.00pm. The makeup of Newtown's team for this match won't be known until there have been further assessments of the club's injury situation.