Newtown Rugby League Football Club - Established 1908
Rd21 - Sharks finish too strongly for the Jets [16-18]
3.00 pm, Saturday, 30 July 2011
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Newtown went down 18-16 to the Cronulla Sharks in a closely-fought NSW Cup match at Henson Park last Saturday.
The game was a match-up of the second and fourth-placed teams, with only one competition point separating the two. The Sharks are a NSW Cup joint-venture team between the Cronulla-Sutherland and Melbourne Storm clubs and are now well-positioned to finish in the competition's top two.
Neither side scored until the 20th minute of the first half, when Jets winger, Byron Ford, proved again he is one of the best at leaping to catch high kicks into the corner.
Both teams missed likely scoring chances before the Sharks took a 6-4 lead five minutes before halftime. The Jets had turned possession over at their own end and paid the ultimate price for this error, with the Sharks taking this two-point lead into the halftime break.
The match was played with the intensity of a semi-final and any mistakes made were likely to prove costly. The Sharks surrendered valuable territory with a kick out on the full, which ended with the Jets captain, Khalid Deeb, scoring next to the posts, courtesy of smart lead-up work from halfback, Blake Lazarus, and fullback, Mark Kheirallah.
The Jets led 10-6 and increased this to 16-6 by way of a clever individual try-scoring effort from Blake Lazarus.
With less than fifteen minutes left to play the Jets looked likely to extend their winning run to five games on end.
Sharks lift with Jets on verge of victory
The Sharks lifted their game at this critical stage and the Newtown players didn't quite manage to stay with them.
Cronulla took full advantage of an extra set after a near-miss interception attempt by the Jets at their own end of the field, scoring near the posts with help from an erratically bouncing kick.
A midfield turnover by the Jets from a short kick that went astray gave Cronulla more valuable possession with five minutes left on the clock. The Sharks ran the ball on the last tackle and scored a converted try, making the final margin 18-16, Cronulla's way.
Newtown's coach Greg Matterson was very disappointed with the Jets' last quarter, saying that their intensity had fallen away and that the Sharks had the class of players who could take full advantage of any scoring opportunities.
There had been some poor decisions made by Jets players and these had let Cronulla back into the game. He also felt that Newtown had missed scoring chances in the first half that could have changed the flow of the match.
Khalid Deeb gave a fine captain's performance, scoring a try and making a great try-saving tackle late in the match.
Ahmad Ellaz and Kurt Kara had worked hard in defence and Tom Symonds was heavily involved with the ball and in tackling. Mark Kheirallah was very impressive at fullback and he returned the ball with speed and confidence.
Newtown Jets 16 [Byron Ford, Khalid Deeb, Brett Lazarus tries; Blake Lazarus 2 goals]
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 18 [3 tries; 3 goals]
Half-time: Sharks led 6-4.
Officials: Referee,: Jon Stone; Touch Judges, Brendan Wood, Richard Daizli.
Weather: Fine, mild, sunny. Playing surface: Very good.
The Newtown Jets travel west next Sunday, 7 August, to play Wentworthville at Ringrose Park, with this match between the NSW Cup's fourth and fifth-placed teams timed to start at 3.00pm.
Texts from Henson tell the story
"19th minute. Bizza Ford scores south-east corner. Bomb across field from Lazarus. Bizza juggles and regains. Conversion missed."
"33rd minute. Sharks score and convert. Jets down 4-6."
"Banana kick from Lazo back across posts. Gathered by Khalid who breaks thru and scores. 10-6 to Jets in 52 minute."
"61st minute. Lazo break from half-way. Thru 4 tackles to score adjacent to posts and converts. Jets 16-6."
"Not sure if Brett Lane converted 2nd try or if it was Lazo. Sharks score in 70th minute after intense pressure. 16-12"
"Not to be. Sharks score again and convert in 76th minute. Final score 16-18."
So often it is the Jets screaming home to victory on the bell. Alas, in Round 21, the valiant Bluebags lost on the bell.
Interim summary thanks to a great Jets supporter and friends. Go the mighty Newtown Jets!