3.00 pm, Sunday, 6 April
The Auckland Vulcans ended Newtown's early season unbeaten run when they defeated the Jets 23-22 in the fourth round VB NSW Cup Rugby League match played at Henson Park on Sunday.
The Jets had led 16-6 at halftime and 22-12 with twenty minutes remaining in the game, but the Kiwis found the resolve and stamina to draw level and ultimately snatch a late victory with a field goal eight minutes from fulltime.
Jets gain ascendency in first half...
Newtown made a scratchy start to the match and conceded a converted try in the twelfth minute.
Byron Ford outjumps the Vulcan's Aiden Kirk and scores
The Jets then recovered some of their cohesion and structure of recent weeks and scored three tries within seven minutes in the game's second quarter, going in at the halftime break seemingly in control.
The Jets looked well-positioned at 22-12 up but failed to seal the result when they had the opportunities to do so midway through the second half.
... Only to surrender to a more committed side in the second half
Auckland scored three tries to one in the second session and deserved their victory. The visitors were in command for the last fifteen minutes of play and exposed flaws in Newtown's right-side defence and in their composure under pressure.
The Jets' failure to play to their game plan cost them dearly in a game that had been theirs for the taking.
Jets front-rower Frank-Paul Nuuausala was the team's outstanding performer but there were some disappointing displays from some of his team-mates, particularly as the game slipped from the Jets' grasp in the last twenty minutes.
Vulcans back-rower and New Zealand Test representative Wairangi Koopu, who had played with Newtown back in 2000, was arguably the best player on the field.
Second-rower Mickey Paea gave a brave display in putting in his usual robust effort despite feeling below par.
Auckland Vulcans 23
4 tries, 3 goals, 1 field goal
Newtown Jets 22
4 tries, 3 goals
Referee: Gavin Badger
Touch Judges: Robert Bowen, Adam Gee
The Newtown Jets return to Henson Park next Saturday, 12 April, when they will take on the in-form Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the fifth round of the NSWRL VB NSW Cup. This match kicks off at 3.00pm.