3.00 pm, Saturday, 4 June 2011
Meet the players
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 Mike Bidboudis or Jason McCawley photo slideshows.
Newtown Jets club historian, Terry Williams, rated Saturday's come-from-behind 16-14 win against Wentworthville at Henson Park as one of the club's best since re-entering senior Rugby League back in 1991.
Determined Jets stay positive and don't look for excuses
Both the Jets and their partnership club the Sydney Roosters have a large number of players unavailable through injury, and Saturday's victory was the Jets' third win in a row when the odds have been heavily stacked against them.
This 13th round NSW Cup match against Wenty looked to be a case of Mission Impossible, with Parramatta NRL squad members of the calibre of Carl Webb, Reni Maitua, Chris Walker, Chris Hicks and Daniel Mortimer all turning out with the Eels' NSW Cup partnership club.
Jets coach Greg Matterson wouldn't tolerate any hint of pessimism in the Jets ranks, telling his players prior to kick-off that the names on the opposition team-sheet don't necessarily translate into points on the score-board. He called for the same level of commitment and team spirit that had carried the Jets to wins in recent games against Canterbury-Bankstown and the North Sydney Bears.
Magpies take upper hand on scoreboard in first half but Jets remain strong
Wenty scored in the 5th minute but the Jets responded with a try to skipper, Khalid Deeb, who ploughed through the Magpies defence about five minutes later.
Wentworthville led 10-6 at half-time and increased this lead to 14-6 early in the second half.
The Jets inspirational fullback, Byron Ford, plays on despite injury and is there to claim a triumphant winning try [Photo by Gary Sutherland]
Newtown secures a gutsy victory
While the Jets second half performance was anything but faultless, they hung tough in defence for the remainder of the match and refused to let Wenty take control of the game.
Ten minutes from full-time back-rower, Brad Takairangi, and centre, James Trotter, combined for fullback, Byron Ford, to score next to the northern end goal-posts.
Ford badly injured his shoulder soon after scoring that try but rather than leave the field he opted to move to the left-side wing.
With barely three minutes left to play, the Jets drove play deep into Wenty territory and forced a goal-line drop-out. In the next set Jets halfback, Blake Lazarus, laid on a superb cut-out pass to the unmarked Ford, who caught the ball one-handed and romped in triumphantly at the broadcast-box corner, right in front of a large concentration of ecstatic Jets fans.
Newtown survived a last desperate surge from the Magpies and claimed one of their most memorable victories at this historic Rugby League ground.
Coach Matterson rated this as a gutsy team performance where Newtown hung in and stayed within striking distance of their well-credentialled opponents.
Newtown's scoring chances came late in the game but both tries were well executed. The Jets' coaching staff rated Khalid Deeb, Ryan Verlinden, Kurt Kara and Ahmad Ellaz as the best of the Newtown forwards, along with Byron Ford, Francis Vaiotu, James Trotter and Willie Mataka in the backs - but the occasion ultimately belonged to the inspirational Ford, who emulated greats of the game's past like Alan Prescott and John Sattler in defying injury to seize victory for his club and his team-mates.
Byron Ford will be on the Barefoot Rugby League Show on NITV on Thursday at 8.30pm.
Newtown Jets 16 [Byron Ford 2, Khalid Deeb tries; Brett Lane 2 goals]
Wentworthville Magpies 14 [3 tries; 1 goal
Half-time: Wentworthville led 6-10
Officials: Referee, Shane Rehm; Touch Judges, Jay Farlow, Nathan Smith.
Ecstatic Jets supporters greet Khalid Deeb and Francis Tuigamala as the victorious players file past
[Photo by Mike Biboudis]
The Jets travel away to the Morrie Breen Field, Wyong on Saturday, 11 June, to play the Newcastle Knights NSW Cup partnership club Central Coast Centurions, with the kick-off timed for 3.00pm. This 14th round fixture shapes up as another danger game for Newtown with the Jets having had an indifferent record at this venue in the past two years.