3.00 pm, Saturday, 28 May 2011
Meet the players & staff
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]
Game day raffle sponsors
Billy Elliott & Bob Petersen
Balmain Historic Pub Tours
Browse moment-by-moment game action in Gary Sutherland's match gallery or view game highlights in the Jason McCawley or Mike Bidboudis photo slideshows.
The Newtown Jets won custody of the Frank Hyde Shield for 2011 with a 20-10 win over old rivals North Sydney at Henson Park on Saturday.
The biggest crowd of the NSW Cup season was in attendance for this showpiece game, along with members of the Hyde family who were there to present the trophy named in honour of one of Rugby League's most iconic personalities.
Newtown played the first half of this match like a side struggling to rediscover their form from the previous weekend's outstanding win against the Bulldogs.
Coach 'inspires' side in half-time talk
The two teams were locked up at 4-all at halftime, and Jets coach Greg Matterson didn't hold back in his halftime team address, telling his players in no uncertain terms that their poor execution and indulgent play could cost them the game.
They had failed to keep pressure on the Bears at Norths' end of the ground through their ineffective kicking options and poor completion rate. Ex-Cronulla lock forward Ahmad Ellaz had scored Newtown's only try in the first half when he shrugged off Bears defenders to score wide out in the game's 17th minute.
Second half start not encouraging for supporters
The Jets' shoddy performance early in the second half hardly inspired confidence, firstly with a failed attempt to find the line from a penalty kick and then conceding penalties that gave Norths favourable field position.
The Bears scored a converted try in the 50th minute to take the lead by 10-4, and the Shoremen looked to be on track to take the Frank Hyde Shield back across the Harbour Bridge but Newtown's commitment in defence and application when in possession improved from this point onwards.
Jets back in the groove
Halfback Blake Lazarus and backrower Brad Takairangi put on a smart play that ended in Lazarus scoring next to the northern end goal-posts in the 58th minute, and five-eighth Brett Lane's conversion tied the scores at 10-all.
Lane himself claimed a clever individual try five minutes later that gave Newtown a 16-10 lead as the game entered its final quarter.
The Jets had several anxious moments late in the game as the Bears fought desperately to draw level again. An inspired long-distance break by the hard-working Ellaz, plus good support play from backrower Tinirau Arona and fullback Rhys Pritchard ended in winger Byron Ford clinching Newtown's victory with a 78th minute try.
While the Jets coaching staff justifiably had their concerns about Newtown's first half performance, this was a lively, hard-fought contest that entertained the 2,000 plus crowd that turned out for this traditional showdown between two of the NSW Rugby League's foundation clubs.
The coaching staff nominated lock Ahmad Ellaz, centre Francis Vaiotu, fullback Rhys Pritchard and team captain and front-rower Khalid Deeb as being among the Jets' best on the day.
Winger Byron Ford continues to improve after his extended absence from the game. The Jets players had all obviously lifted in the last thirty minutes, especially in defence late in the game, in response to the big crowd.
Newtown Jets 20 [Ahmad Ellaz, Blake Lazarus, Brett Lane, Byron Ford tries; Mark Kheirallah, Brett Lane goals]
North Sydney Bears 10 [2 tries; 1 goal]
Half-time: Scores level at 4-4
The Newtown Jets are at home again next Saturday, 4 June, for the 13th round of the NSW cup and confront another much-improved opponent in Wentworthville - Parramatta's NSW Cup partnership club. Kick off at 3.00pm.