3.00 pm, Saturday, 13 August 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 photo slideshow.
A day of upsets
Henson Park was the place to be on Saturday if you were looking for upset results in NSW Cup Rugby League matches.
In Saturday's curtain-raiser, the under-rated Western Suburbs Magpies defeated second-placed Cronulla 16-8 and in the main game, last-placed Manly-Warringah saw off the fourth-placed Newtown Jets 24-10 after having led 18-4 at halftime.
Newtown's disappointing performance was the textbook case of a team not turning up switched on to play. Manly looked sharper with the ball early in the game and threw down the challenge to the Jets with a converted try in the 13th minute.
Jets centre Brett Lane sent winger Byron Ford over in the corner in the 27th minute after Ford had done well to ground the ball.
The situation worsened for Newtown when the Sea Eagles scored again after the Jets had failed to secure the ball from the kick-off. Manly added a further try prior to halftime and it was obvious that an upset was on the cards.
'Gentle' encouragement from coach sparks temporary improvement
The Newtown players responded to a halftime blast from coach Matterson and for a period the Jets showed more purpose and direction when they had the ball but despite having the advantage of territory and possession the Jets failed to break through the Manly defensive line, and the Sea Eagles gained more confidence as the game went on.
The match degenerated into a dour struggle midway through the second lane but Jets centre Brett Lane enlivened the big home crowd when he dummied his way through for a cleverly-taken try in the 25th minute.
A costly error at Newtown's end presented Manly with a converted try in the 33rd minute, effectively ending the game as a contest.
Jets coach Greg Matterson commended the Manly team on their win, saying that they had completed well, minimised their errors and employed a good kicking game that frequently drove the Jets deep into their own territory.
By contrast Newtown's kicking tactics were ineffective and there had been some bad options taken on the fifth tackle when Newtown was on the attack for several sets early in the second half. This had been a day when the Jets failed to gel as a team and they paid the price for under-estimating their opponents.
Other NSW Cup results served the Jets well and Newtown cannot finish lower than fourth place on the final competition table.
New Zealand Test forward, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, played his first game for Newtown in two years and along with prop, Francis Tuigamala, made some strong mid-field charges. Hooker, Kurt Kara, was in the thick of the defensive workload while centres, Brett Lane and Francis Vaiotu, were Newtown's best backs.
Newtown Jets 10 [Byron Ford, Brett Lane tries; Blake Lazarus goal]
Manly-Warringah 24 [4 tries; 4 goals]
Half-Time: Manly-Warringah led 18-4.
Referee: Chris Sutton; Touch Judges: Scott Murray, David Ryan
Weather: Fine, mild Playing surface: Very good.
Rd24 bye then Rd25 is Reunion Day
The Newtown Jets have another bye this coming weekend and then face up to the competition leaders, Canterbury-Bankstown, at Henson Park on Saturday, 27 August. This is also the Newtown club's annual Reunion Day, with the scheduled curtain-raiser being another showpiece NSW Cup fixture between the Cronulla Sharks and the Auckland Vulcans.