3.25 pm, Saturday, 23 August
Energy Australia Stadium
Teams last met in Round 8, at Henson, when the Jets scored a narrow victory.
The Newtown Jets defied the elements in their narrow 24-22 win against the Central Newcastle Knights, in the VB NSW Cup match played at the Energy Australia Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Jets led 12-10 at halftime despite having run into the teeth of a strong southerly wind. They then failed to take best advantage of the weather conditions in the second half and can count themselves somewhat lucky to have come away with the two competition points.
The Knights fielded a physically-imposing team and gave the Jets plenty of anxious moments, especially in the tense latter stages of the game. Newtown desperately defended their fragile two-point lead for the final ten minutes and will need to improve on this performance to retain the vital fourth position on the competition table.
Lead changed three times in first half
Newcastle had led 6-0 after nine minutes but Newtown replied through a clever interchange of passes between Sean Rudder and Donny Thompson which ended in the elusive Thompson scoring.
The Knights reclaimed the lead on the back of a massive penalty line kick which gained them all of 70 metres. Thompson put Damon Alley-Tovio over in the corner two minutes before halftime, with halfback Ben Green's sideline conversion into the fierce gale providing what was to be the eventual winning margin.
Jets squander lead in second half
The Jets looked to be in command in the early stages of the second half as they drew away to a 24-10 lead, reinforced by having the howling southerly at their backs.
Daniel Green and Shane Shackleton scored Newtown's tries, both of which were converted by Ben Green.
The Jets didn't score again for the last 25 minutes - their failure to follow coach Matterson's game plan plus their rusted-on tendency to concede penalties late in the tackle count put pressure on themselves and kept the Knights in the game.
Newtown front-rower Shane Shackleton was the Jets' best and was well supported by Stanley Waqa, Hep Cahill, Anthony Cherrington and Martin Kennedy.
Experienced team captain Sean Rudder, winger Shaun Foley and fullback Donny Thompson were Newtown's best backs.
Newtown's injured list
The Newtown team was weakened by a long list of injured Newtown and Roosters players who were unavailable for selection.
Jimmy Andersen (the 2008 team captain); Byron Ford (the team's main backline strike weapon); Steve Meredith (the stand-in captain in recent weeks); Frank-Paul Nuuausala (the human wrecking ball); Aaron Wheatley (gone for the season with a shoulder reconstruction); Rory Kostjasyn (badly smashed up last Saturday); Ben Jones (appendicitis); Albert Hopoate; and Riley Brown (badly concussed last Saturday at Henson Park).
4 tries, 4 goals
Central Newcastle Knights: 22
4 tries, 3 goals
Weather: Cloudy, very cold, strong southerly wind.
Playing surface: Excellent.
Referee: Gavin West
Touch Judges: Peter Sciberras, Jimmy Oliveira
The Newtown Jets play away to the Windsor Wolves next Saturday (30th August) at the Windsor Sports Complex, with this match timed for kick-off at 6.00pm.
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]