3.00 pm, Saturday, 28 August 2010
The Crest Stadium, Bass Hill, Off Rex Rd or Carysfield Rd
Meet the players
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]
Canterbury-Bankstown has edged ahead of Newtown on the NSW Cup premiership table after the Bulldogs defeated the Jets 26-20 at the Crest Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Newtown's loss has relegated the Jets to third place on the competition table, one point behind Canterbury and the Balmain Tigers. Saturday's match was a fiercely-contested, tense struggle in keeping with two teams who should be prominent participants in the upcoming finals series.
Jets lose ground in first half through penalties and errors
The Jets had all the early possession and favourable field position, posting tries through winger Sonny Tuigamala and front-rower Ray Moujalli within the first ten minutes.
Newtown turned the ball over and were promptly punished by Canterbury, with the Bulldogs pulling back to trail 10-6 after 15 minutes. The first half was played at a furious pace and the giant Bulldogs pack had started to dominate their opponents in the latter stages of the first stanza.
The Jets didn't assist their own cause by conceding a string of penalties. Canterbury scored again close to halftime and the two teams went into the break locked up at 10-all.
Jets forced to come from behind in second half but fall short
Newtown had the 'Dogs under pressure early in the second half but were unable to breach the Canterbury defensive line.
Two critical midfield possession turnovers by the Jets, with the damage being compounded on each occasion by penalties to Canterbury, saw the 'Dogs score two converted tries midway through the second half.
The Bulldogs appeared to have the game by the throat in leading 22-10, but the Jets fought back with five-eighth Tom Symonds scoring courtesy of clever lead-up work by second-rower Aidan Guerra, and centre Chris Tuatara-Morrison grabbing a try following a chip kick into the in-goal by halfback Liam Foran.
It was game-on at 22-20 and Newtown had the Bulldogs defending desperately on their own line but were unable to break through for that vital try.
A one-on-one midfield possession strip by the 'Dogs gave Canterbury the necessary surge to score an unconverted try three minutes out from fulltime to extend their lead to 26-20.
Newtown's coach, Greg Matterson, noted that the Jets had paid heavily for a series of crucial errors and penalties midway through the second half but he was quick to praise his team's courageous fightback.
Canterbury's ability to off-load in tackles and the physical power of the Bulldogs' pack had also hurt the Jets but Matterson was sure that the team would have learned some valuable lessons from this minor-premiership decider.
Matterson further observed that the Jets had lacked patience at pivotal stages - they needed to "stay in the grind" and not push their passes. This had been the biggest game of the season for both teams and was always going to be an arm-wrestle - Newtown had "blinked first" and then had to play catch-up football.
Jets five-eighth, Tom Symonds, was voted Newtown's man of the match, while James Koloamatangi, Ray Moujalli and James Aubusson had been the best of Newtown's forwards, with winger, Troy Savage, being rated the best of Newtown's other backs.
Newtown Jets 20 [Sonny Tuigamala, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Tom Symonds, Ray Moujalli tries; Tu'u Maori 2 goals]
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26 [5 tries, 3 goals]
Officials: Referee, Mick Laverty; Touch Judges, Peter Sciberras, Jimmy Oliveira.
Weather: Fine, sunny, very cold, southerly breeze.
The Newtown Jets return to Henson Park next Saturday, 4 September, for their round 26 match against Cronulla-Sutherland. This match is also the occasion for the annual Newtown Jets players, officials and supporters reunion, with the Jet-Sharks "West Side Story Rumble" timed to start at 3.00pm.