3.00 pm, Saturday, 12 April
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]
Newtown and Manly-Warringah drew 10-all in the VB NSW Cup match played at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Sea Eagles had led 4-0 at halftime and 10-4
with fifteen minutes to play and despite two attempts just failed to
land the killer blow of a field goal.
With just five minutes remaining the Jets pulled
back to 10-8 and halfback Ben Green's curving sideline conversion
levelled the scores.
Tevita Folau scores the try that draws the game
Continuous tackling, hard first half
The first half was most notable for Manly's
surplus of possession and territorial advantage which the visitors
should have turned into more points.
Repeated possession turnovers and conceded
penalties by Newtown gave the Sea Eagles a feast of possession and the
beleaguered Jets plenty of tackling practice.
While Manly's halftime lead had been restricted to
4-0, it seemed inevitable that the Jets' huge workload and the
unusually humid conditions would combine to get the Sea Eagles home in
the second half.
A titanic struggle stirred the respect of the crowd
Newtown went close to scoring early in the second
half when in-form winger Byron Ford was hurled back into the field of
play by outstanding Manly defence.
The Jets' problems were compounded when backrower
Aaron Wheatley was forced from the field with a dislocated shoulder,
leaving Newtown shorthanded on a day when all hands were needed at the
It most assuredly was a test of the Jets' fitness
and fighting qualities and what the game lacked as a spectacle was made
up for by the compelling theatre of Newtown's bravery and perseverance.
Jets hold the line and fight back in second half
Jets halfback Ben Green's well-targeted pass put
winger Tevita Folau in at the Sydenham Road right-hand corner to level
the scores at 4-all, but the Sea Eagles regained the lead with fifteen
minutes left after Newtown had surrendered possession in midfield.
Manly then missed with two field goal attempts but should have had the result in their keeping by this late stage.
The crowd responded appropriately when Green
kicked judiciously for that same right-side corner where the unmarked
Folau claimed his second try with barely four minutes remaining.
Green's nerveless sideline conversion will hopefully become one of the
folkloric moments of the Jets' centenary year.
Backrower Mickey Paea was clearly Newtown's best on the day and he was overwhelmingly voted the players' player award winner by his team-mates.
Other forwards to impress were prop Ray Moujalli and lock Jimmy Andersen, while David Shillington did everything asked of him in carting the ball up and mixing it in the tough defensive workload.
Halfback Ben Green set up both
tries, kicked the match-levelling goal and a vital second-half 40/20 as
well as gaining precious field position with his penalty line kicks.
Centre Albert Hopoate gave a strong defensive display in his NSW Cup debut appearance as did backrower Daniel Green.
2 tries, 1 goal
Newtown Jets 10
2 tries, 1 goal
Half-Time: Manly-Warringah led 4-0.
Referee: Robert Bowen
Touch Judges: Nathan Hill, Andrew Zapantis.
Newtown plays away next Saturday to North Sydney
in the Australian Rugby League's heritage centenary weekend of marquee
games, with this keenly-awaited clash also being the first leg of the
2008 Frank Hyde Memorial Shield series.
With the Bears unbeaten in the 2008 NSW Cup and
the Jets currently in second place, this match between the traditional
rivals shapes up as a classic.
The Newtown RLFC encourages all Jets supporters to
turn up in force and in full colours at North Sydney Oval next
Saturday, 19 April, for this historic match. Kick-off is at the later
time of 4.30pm.