5.00 pm, Saturday, 13 March 2010
Meet the players
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]
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Two close games
Henson Park was the place to be last Saturday if you wanted to see spine-tingling finishes to senior Rugby League games.
In the NSW Cup heritage round curtain-raiser, Western Suburbs defeated North Sydney 29-28 in a match where the lead changed hands several times.
In the main game Newtown led 30-18 against a 12-man Balmain outfit with less than 15 minutes remaining, but the Tigers fought back with two converted tries and a late field goal to claim this inaugural MUA Solidarity Cup challenge match by the narrowest of margins, 31-30.
Jets let game get away in second half
Newtown led 20-12 at halftime and looked to be in command in the latter stages of the first half. The Jets scored three tries in the last ten minutes and had recorded a high completion rate.
Midway through the second half the Jets were in pole position with a 30-18 lead, but crucial errors and penalties in the last 15 minutes gifted the Tigers vital possession and territory that enabled last year's Grand Finalists to snatch this result in the game's final minutes.
Newtown scored six tries to five but the Tigers did the simple things better at the business end of the game.
Newtown coach Greg Matterson was left to ponder the lost competition points from a game that definitely slipped away from the Blues.
He noted that the crucial mistakes and penalties in the last ten minutes proved to be the ultimate difference between the sides, and that his Jets needed to quickly adopt the mental toughness and ruthless team discipline that provides the winning edge in games of this calibre.
The Jets were best served by Jason Baitieri, Ryan Verlinden and Ray Moujalli in the forwards and by Troy Savage, Kane Linnett and Chris Tuatara-Morrison in the backline. Savage was judged to be Newtown's best player award winner as he maintains the strong form that he showed in the pre-season trials.
Great start to the Solidarity Cup and Ryan-Pringle Shield contests
The Newtown club extends thanks to the Maritime Union of Australia for their generous game day sponsorship on Saturday. The MUA Solidarity Cup will continue to be contested between the Newtown and Balmain clubs whenever they play at Henson Park.
Last Saturday's match was also the first leg in the 2010 Ryan-Pringle Shield challenge series between the two pioneer clubs.
Newtown 30 [Richard Kambo, Troy Savage, Jason Wells, Jason Baitieri, Ray Moujalli, Chris Tuatara-Morrison tries; Tu'u Maori , Liam Foran goals]
Balmain Ryde-Eastwood 31 [5 tries; 5 goals; 1 field goal]
Half-Time: Newtown led 20-12.
Referee: Shane Sharman; Touch Judges: Dave Ryan, Peter Sciberras.
Results from curtain-raisers
NSWRL NSW Cup – Round One: Western Suburbs 29 defeated North Sydney 28.
Harold Matthews Cup – Round Five: Sydney Roosters 16 defeated South Sydney 14.
SG Ball Cup – Round Five: Sydney Roosters 28 defeated South Sydney 18.
The Newtown Jets get the chance to make amends for last Saturday's loss when they take on another fellow 1908 foundation club in North Sydney at Henson Park next Saturday, with this match timed for kick-off at 3.00pm.
This game will be the first leg of the 2010 Frank Hyde Shield challenge series.
About the Trevor Ryan-Neil Pringle Shield and Solidarity Cup
The Jets and the Tigers compete on an annual basis for the Trevor Ryan-Neil Pringle Shield, a trophy which honours the two 1970's NSW representatives who played with distinction at both clubs. The Ryan-Pringle Shield is currently in the possession of the Tigers.
In 2010, a second trophy came into contention between the two clubs, with the announcement that the Maritime Union of Australia would be the match-day sponsor for this Saturday's Newtown-Balmain showdown, and for subsequent Jets-Tigers matches at Henson Park.
The trophy was appropriately named the Solidarity Cup, recognising the industrial working-class heritage of both of these NSW Rugby League foundation clubs.