Newtown Rugby League Football Club - Established 1908
Notes from France Part II - Former Jets show their skills in France

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Notes from France Part II is for those Jets supporters who enjoyed the contribution that Jason Baitieri and Lopini Paea made to our 2010 season. With Luke Towers's season culminating in a close grand final defeat, it is time to follow the adventures of our other former players who run out for the Catalans Dragons in the English Super League.

Some notes on the start of Jason and Lopini's adventure in France.

Interviews with Jason and Luke.

Map shows the French cities where the Élite 1 plays, plus the home of the Catalans Dragons, Perpignan.

2011

Jason Baitieri enjoying success in a successful team

Jason Man of Match in great Catalan win

2010

Lopini Paea & Jason Baitieri - 19/11/2010

2011

Jason Baitieri enjoying success in a successful team

After 20 rounds in the Super league competition, the Catalan Dragons are tied with St Helens for 4th spot on the ladder and Jason's value is showing up in the team stats. Jason is 2nd in the top 5 for metres gained and 3rd in the top 5 for tackles made.

Jason Man of Match in great Catalan win

On June 4, as the Newtown Jets took on a near NRL side in the Wentworthville Magpies, the Catalan Dragons were preparing to travel up to the Yves du Manoir stadium in nearby Montpellier to welcome the Wigan Warriors, two places ahead of them at position 3, on the Super League ladder.

The Dragons left the ground victors, 20-12, thanks to a huge defensive effort led by our 2010 captain, Jason Baitieri, who was named Man of the match.

Jason started the game in the pack with fellow former Jet and Rooster, Lopini Paea.

The Roosters 2010 Assistant Coach, Trent Robinson, is the Catalans coach and reserved special praise for Jason, who put in some massive tackles on the Wigan players.

"Jase is one of our smaller pack members but he plays tough and hard every week and his performances are full of courage," he said. "For him to start tonight against Wigan was an easy decision for me as we know what we're going to get from him every week.

Supporters who watched Jason lead the Jets in 2010 saw that same determined effort from Jason and we are sure he would have been equally impressed by the dogged defense of our 2011 players, which resulted in our recent magnificent wins over the Bulldogs, the Bears and the Magpies.

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19 November 2010 - Lopini and Jason start training with the Catalans Dragons

Lopin Paea and Jason Baitieri now grace the splash page banner on the Dragons website, along side other Australian players signed by the Dragons - Ian Henderson, Scott Dureau, Ben Farrer, Scott Dureau and Steve Menzies.

The boys are now at training under the direction of coach, Trent Robinson, formerly with the Roosters, Newcastle and Parramatta.

"The first day of full team training was Monday and the staff took them through individual technique training and speed tests "before ending the day with a weights session" [sťance de musculation]."

Jason had a busy October. His dual French-Australian citizenship gave him the opportunity to represent France in the Coupe d'Europe. The French team, usually referred to as "the Blues" ["les Bleus"] crushed the Irish team 54-24. Jason scored one of France's 11 tries.

France went on to secure victory over Scotland [26-12] but they just failed in the final [11-12] against Wales, which now fields a team, the Crusaders, in the Super League competition. The Final's loss means that France could miss out competing in the 2011 Four Nations Cup. [Update - France will play because Australia has pulled out!]

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