3.00 pm, Saturday, 4 September 2010
Meet the players
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]
Past players, supporters and Newtown enthusiasts enjoy a Reunion Day victory
Newtown's manpower reserves were stretched to the limit at Henson Park last Saturday, when the Jets defeated Cronulla-Sutherland 24-18 in the 26th and final competition round of the 2010 NSW Cup.
Newtown was assured of finishing in at least third place on the premiership table but needed to win this game if either Canterbury-Bankstown or Balmain had faltered in their own final competition matches.
A combination of injuries and promotions into the Roosters NRL squad had led to several changes in Newtown's ranks and the Sharks, already assured of a place in the final eight, were clearly determined to deny the Jets a victory on their annual club reunion day.
Cronulla dominate scoring in first half
Cronulla weathered early pressure from the Jets and scored first midway through the first half. The Sharks extended their lead to 8-0 at the 30th minute mark but the Jets responded just prior to half-time through fullback, Steve Naughton, after good lead-up work by Tom Symonds.
Jets have to work hard to hold their second half lead
Newtown scored again early in the second half after Symonds and second-rower, Jason Wells, had been constructively involved. Front-rower, Ray Moujalli, scored soon afterwards with Tu'u Maori's conversion giving the Jets a 16-8 lead.
The Sharks exploited some fragile Newtown defence and narrowed the gap to 16-14. Jets hooker and former Shark, Nick Doig, burrowed over from dummy-half with 18 minutes left to play.
The Shire boys took full advantage of a Newtown midfield penalty and scored in the following set, narrowing the margin to only 22-18 with 12 minutes remaining. The Jets survived several anxious moments and added a penalty goal for the final scoreline of 24-18.
Newtown's coach, Greg Matterson, was less than enthralled with his team's scrappy win, but he admitted that the much-changed lineup had done just enough to claim the two points and had come through relatively free of injuries. Matterson anticipated that there would be several players returning to the Newtown ranks for the semi-final series.
Tom Symonds, who had played in the back-row and at five-eighth on Saturday, was Newtown's man of the match, while Tinirau Arona, James Koloamatangi, Jason Baitieri and Keith Peters had been the best of the forwards.
Fullback, Steve Naughton, formerly with the Canberra Raiders, has had no luck at all with injuries this year but he turned in a brave and capable display on Saturday at fullback.
Newtown Jets 24 [Ray Moujalli, Nick Doig, Steve Naughton 2 tries; Tu'u Maori 3 goals, 1 penalty goal]
Cronulla Sharks 18 [3 tries; 2 goals, 1 penalty goal]
Half-time: Cronulla led 8-6.
Officials: Referee, Henry Perenara; Touch judges, Rob Bowen, Nathan Smith.
The weather was overcast and mild. The rain had cleared but the pitch was heavy and the centre square muddy. A strong nor'easter came up during the first half and was with Newtown in the second half.
The post-game function was held at the venue of our long-standing sponsor, the Petersham RSL Club, 7 Regent St, Petersham.
Next game - Finals Week 1 - last 2010 game at Henson!
The Newtown Jets are at Henson Park for the last time in 2010 next Saturday, 11 September, when they meet Wentworthville in a NSW Cup Qualifying Final kicking off at 3.00pm.
Get to the game and support the Mighty Bluebags!