3.00 pm, Saturday, 24 March 2012
Brushed up and ready to rock
NSW Cup ladder
Game day raffle sponsors
Billy Elliott & Bob Petersen
Balmain Historic Pub Tours
Browse moment-by-moment game action and game highlights in the galleries of our wonderful Newtown photographers, Gary Sutherland, Mike Bidboudis and Jason McCauley.
Newtown's youthful VB NSW Cup team was given a harsh lesson in the realities of modern Rugby League last Saturday.
On a day that was meant to celebrate the reopening of the Jets' refurbished Henson Park headquarters, defending premiers Canterbury-Bankstown handed out a 54-10 belting to the inexperienced Blues line-up.
On a perfect autumn day and with Federal Minister and Member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese MP, the principal guest, the Jets made a reasonable contest of the first half but were blown away in the game's third quarter.
First half glimmer of hope for Jets extinguished quickly
Canterbury led 22-6 at halftime but a lost scoring opportunity right on the siren might have given Newtown some momentum to take into the second half.
The Bulldogs are certainly setting the benchmark for the 2012 VB NSW Cup, having dished out hidings to all of their opponents so far in this year's competition.
Jets centre Peni Tagive scored midway through the first half and winger Adam Henry scored early in the second session, after having lost the ball over the line on the stroke of halftime. Front-rower Andrew Pearn was the Jets' standout player on a day when several of this year's youngsters learned some lessons about consistency of performance and personal application.
Coaching staff assessment
The Jets coaching staff acknowledged they have plenty of work to do, but pointed out that several players had turned on first-class performances the previous Saturday against the then-unbeaten Cronulla Sharks.
Footballers don't lose their natural abilities and learned skills in the space of a week, but their individual attitudes and levels of mental toughness can fluctuate.
The Jets had their share of misfortune with injuries to cult front-rower Ryan Verlinden and five-eighth Jack Littlejohn that no doubt disrupted the team's cohesion in the first half.
Poor defensive decisions on Newtown's edges had resulted in several runaway tries to the Bulldogs, including one exceptional effort where the ball passed through at least eight pairs of hands. As Jets coach Greg Matterson remarked "there's no doubting the attacking potential of this Canterbury side, but we succeeded in making them look like world beaters".
Newtown Jets 10 [Peni Tagive, Adam Henry tries; Mark Kheirallah goal]
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 54 [10 tries, 7 goals]
Half-time: Bulldogs led 6-22
Officials: Referee, Robert Bowen; Touch Judges, Zbigniew Przeklasa-Adamski, Richard Daizli.
Weather: Sunny, fine, mild.
Playing surface: Very good.
The Newtown Jets are back at Henson Park again on Saturday, 31 March 2012 when they meet the 2011 beaten grand finalists, the flamboyant Auckland Vulcans. This fifth round VB NSW Cup fixture will commence at 3.00pm.