7.00 pm, Friday, 11 August 2012
North Sydney Oval, Cnr Miller and Ridge Sts, North Sydney
Browse the 2012 Newtown Jets players & staff gallery
View NSW Cup ladder
Catch the replay
Fox Sports 2, Wednesday, 15 August, at 4.30pm.
How it played out
The Newtown Jets overcame a combination of late team changes, cold and windy playing conditions, and (almost) the full force of the competition leaders, in drawing 16-all with Norths at North Sydney Oval on Friday night.
It was a great developmental experience for Newtown's young players who stood up to be counted on a night when the odds were very much against them.
The Jets had marginally the better of the first half and led 6-4 at the break. The Bears ran up a 14-6 lead early in the second half and looked to be about to open up a strangle-hold on the match.
The young Jets fought back to lead 16-14 and both teams swapped unsuccessful field goal attempts in the hectic final stages of the game.
Many challenges for the Jets
Newtown had several team changes from the previous weekend, with three players receiving call-ups into the Roosters' NRL ranks and a fourth player unavailable due to emergency family circumstances.
The North Sydney CBD was most certainly not exempt from Sydney's savage winter weather and a freezing southerly blew straight down the historic old oval all night.
A strong, determined run from Blake Williamson gave Newtown the first try.
Second-rower Blake Williamson scored for Newtown in the game's sixth minute when he showed great strength and determination as he wrestled his way through several Bears defenders. Mark Kheirallah converted from wide out despite the difficult kicking conditions.
The Bears scored an unconverted try midway through the first half but Newtown maintained their narrow 6-4 lead to the break.
Halftime encouragement from coach
Jets coach Greg Matterson praised his players at halftime for their resolution in defence but called for more variety in their end of set options.
Repeated high kicks into the corners couldn't work in such windy conditions and he urged his players to maintain their work rate and continue to take the game up to their more highly-rated opponents.
Jets bounce back after two quick tries to Bears in second half
Norths looked set to run away with the game when they scored two tries in rapid succession early in the second half but the Jets regrouped and managed to keep the Bears at bay for the remainder of the third quarter.
Front-rower Josh Ailaomai, one of Newtown's best on the night, crashed over under the scoreboard-end goal-posts in the 20th minute and Kheirallah's conversion saw Newtown back in the match at 14-12 down.
Quick hands through the Jets backline put winger Daniel Tupou in for his 19th try of the season and Newtown into the lead at 16-14.
One of the highlights of the second half was the great chase and try-saving tackle by Jets five-eighth Jack Littlejohn after a grubber kick at Norths' end had miscued.
The Bears equalised with a penalty goal with five minutes left to play and both sides attempted field goals in the thrilling final minutes.
2012 Frank Hyde Shield to North Sydney
North Sydney claimed the Frank Hyde Shield on a points for and against basis (having beaten Newtown 26-22 on the 5th May) and several members of Frank's family were on hand for the match and the trophy presentation.
Coaching staff assessment
The Jets coaching staff were unanimous in their praise for Newtown's determination and spirit but felt that the two points had been there for the taking. A smarter kicking game might have brought about a better result, especially if the Bears had been forced into conceding repeat sets and to defend on their own line for longer periods.
Newtown's big forwards - Saulala Houma, Isaac Liu, Josh Ailaomai and Andrew Pearn - had been outstanding and hooker Nafe Seluini was most impressive on debut.
Utility forward Kurt Kara deserves special mention for his willingness to play in the centres at short notice and for turning in an efficient display.
One Newtown supporter summed up the performance quite simply - "They done good" - and another rang to say "They were magnificent, given the team changes, the cold, the wind and the quality of the opposition."
Newtown Jets 16 [Blake Williamson, Josh Ailaomai, Daniel Tupou tries; Mark Kheirallah 2 goals]
Half-Time: Newtown led 6-4.
North Sydney Bears 16 [3 tries; 2 goals]
Officials: Referee, Matt Noyen; Touch Judges, Richard Daizli and Matt Damaso.
Playing surface: Excellent.
Weather: Bitterly cold with a strong southerly wind.
The Newtown Jets travel to Sydney's north-western fringe next Sunday, 19 August, to take on the third-placed Windsor Wolves at the Windsor Sports Complex, with this 24th round match set down for a 3.00pm kick-off.