3.00 pm, Saturday, 16 April, 2011
Meet the players
NSW Cup ladder [end of last round]
Meet the players after the game
The after-match function will be held at Petersham RSL club, 7 Regent Street, Petersham.
Game day raffle sponsors
Billy Elliott & Bob Petersen
Balmain Historic Pub Tours
The Newtown Jets have now won three games and lost three in the 2011 NSW Cup competition, following their 20-10 loss to Cronulla-Sutherland at Henson Park last Saturday.
Miserable weather perhaps an omen
This match marked the 75th anniversary of the Newtown club's first Rugby League game at Henson Park back in 1936, and the old ground took on somewhat of a wintry North of England ambience on Saturday with the floodlights switched on at the kick-off, heavy rain in the second half and a cold southerly breeze blowing throughout the match.
The Sharks dominated the rucks in the first half and although Newtown scored the first try of the game, Cronulla's quick play the balls, precise kicking game and smart ball-work repeatedly caught out Newtown's right-edge defence. The Sharks put on three tries to lead 14-4 after 25 minutes and they maintained that margin into the half-time break.
Injuries during the first forty minutes to Newtown forwards, Aidan Guerra and the in-form Chris Enahoro meant that the Jets were down to two men on the bench for the entire second half.
Dour struggle in second half
Jets coach Greg Matterson demanded a huge improvement from his players in the second half, and turned on a fiery halftime dressing-down in the time-honoured tradition of many former Newtown coaches in the preceding 75 years.
Lama Tasi defies Sharks defenders to score
Matterson said after the game that he was pleased with the manner in which the team had responded to his challenge, even though they were down on numbers and were running into a stiff breeze with the rain pelting horizontally into their faces in the last quarter. The Jets certainly lifted their game and when front-rower, Lama Tasi, crashed over next to the goalposts at the Sydenham Road end, it seemed that the momentum of the game had swung Newtown's way.
As the rain intensified, Newtown's errors and lack of patience and discipline at crucial moments enabled the Sharks to regroup. Cronulla's try from a kick to the corner in the 25th minute and subsequent sideline conversion stretched the Shire boys' lead out to 20-10, which was always going to be a big ask to overhaul in the playing conditions.
Newtown's indifferent first half proved costly, given that the Jets had the advantage of the strong breeze. The Sharks performed all the essentials faster and with greater effect in that first session and withstood Newtown's second half resurgence.
The Jets coaching staff nominated Lama Tasi, Ryan Verlinden and Khalid Deeb as Newtown's best forwards and Francis Vaiotu and Steve Naughton as the best of the backline.
Coach Matterson praised his players for their second half improvement and said that they would fight their way out of this slump with hard graft and team commitment.
Newtown Jets 10 [Aidan Guerra, Lama Tasi tries; Mark Kheirallah 1 goal]
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20 [4 tries; 2 goals]
Half-time: Sharks led 14-4.
Officials: Referee, Grant Atkins; Touch Judges, Lawrence McDonnell, Jimmy Oliveira
Re-living the game - Foxsports replay, game-cast & photos
The Newtown Jets-Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks game will be replayed Wednesday, 20 April. 4.30-6.00pm on Foxsports 2/2 HD.
Review the game as it unfolded in the NSWRL's game-cast of the match [scroll down to the game-cast script].
Browse the photo galleries of the game on Gary Sutherland's and Jason McCauley's websites.
Next Saturday, 23 April, sees one of the premium fixtures in the NSW Cup - an inner-city local derby between two of Rugby League's 1908 foundation clubs, Newtown and Balmain. The Jets confront the Tigers at Henson Park at 3.00pm on Saturday, with this match being the first leg of the 2011 Trevor Ryan-Neil Pringle Shield series.