3.00 pm, Sunday, 9 June 2013
Pioneer Oval, Alexandra St, Parkes
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Despite going into this top-five match as underdogs and having to deal with late team changes, the Newtown Jets defeated the Windsor Wolves 26-22 in the 13th round NSW Cup match played at Pioneer Oval, Parkes on Sunday.
The central-western NSW town turned on fine weather and an excellent venue, and the visiting teams obliged by providing an exciting spectacle with ten tries being scored and the lead changing hands several times. The Wolves led 12-10 at halftime but Newtown's increasingly formidable forward pack laid the foundations for the Jets second half resurgence.
First half - try for try
Windsor fielded a strong line-up with no fewer than 11 players boasting NRL experience, whereas Newtown's squad had somewhat less by way of top-level playing credentials.
The Jets were first to score when halfback Ryley Jacks sent fullback Henare Wells over with a beautifully-timed short pass. The Wolves took full advantage of Newtown's inability to defuse two high kicks and scored twice down the right side to lead 8-4 midway through the first half.
The Jets defended well on their own line for a period and both sides went close to scoring, with the Windsor winger Jennings having what might have been his third try disallowed. Newtown's five-eighth Samisoni Langi, on debut in the NSW Cup, showed superb judgement and skill in laying on a try for the rampaging Josh Ailaomai in the 32nd minute.
The Wolves regained the lead on the stroke of half-time when the Jets again failed to prevent Windsor from scoring from a kick on the fifth tackle.
Coach's half-time 'encouragement'
Jets coach Greg Matterson was most forthright in making it abundantly clear to his players that they needed to work hard on countering the Wolves' attacking kicks.
Second half forward rampage
Kane Evans and Saulala Houma provide a formidable reception committee for the advancing Windsor player
Photo courtesy Parkes Champion Post
Once the Jets forwards were unleashed for the second half the game took on a different complexion.
The Wolves nearly scored early in the second half but had a try disallowed on a touch judge's report. Newtown's forwards then took the contest right up to the Windsor try-line and put extended pressure on the Wolves defence.
Jets captain Tinirau Arona rolled a grubber-kick into the north-westerners' in-goal which was pounced on by the ever-alert Adam Henry.
The enforced-departure of the talented Samisoni Langi with a shoulder injury looked ominous for Newtown and the Wolves regained the lead through another backline raid. Then, Newtown's dashing centre Michael Oldfield broke away on the grandstand side and sent Henare Wells sprinting clear for his second try.
Paul Rokolati's conversion attempt from out wide hit the upright but Newtown led 20-18 with 17 minutes left to play. The Jets forwards continued to pound the Wolves' defence and hard-working prop Lama Tasi ran an excellent line, slicing through defenders to score in the 67th minute.
Rokolati's conversion extended Newtown's lead to 26-18, with this margin being reduced through an unconverted Windsor try in the 79th minute.
Coaching staff assessment
Newtown's coaching staff were impressed with the second half comeback that had been fuelled by the forwards' dominance. They expressed concern with the manner in which Windsor's first half tries had come from fifth tackle kicks and that the Wolves had been let back into the game midway through the second half.
The Jets forwards wore down their opponents through their hard running, physicality and brute strength. Team captain Tinirau Arona had a fine game and was well supported by Dylan Napa, Lama Tasi, Kane Evans, Saulala Houma and Kurt Kara. Henare Wells maintained his good form and Samisoni Langi made an impressive debut in the senior ranks. Paul Rokolati's conversion provided a handy points buffer.
Newtown Jets 26 [Henare Wells 2, Adam Henry, Josh Ailaomai, Lama Tasi tries; Paul Rokolati 3 goals]
Windsor Wolves 22 [5 tries, 1 goal]
Officials: Referee, Daniel Olford; Touch judges, Peter Sciberras and Jay Farlow.
Weather: Fine, sunny, 18 degrees
Playing surface: Excellent.
The Newtown Jets travel to the northern end of the Central Coast next Sunday, 16 June, to take on the competition's surprise packets Wyong at the Morry Breen Oval, with this round 14 match timed to get underway at 3.00pm.
As reported in the Parkes Champion Post sporting pages
Jets v Wolves, the 2012 encounters
The Wolves have always played strongly, and alas, often successfully, against the Royal Blue.
In Rd15, the Jets and Wolves met in Parkes, for their country "showdown" but the Jets returned to Sydney empty-handed, suffering a 20-34 loss.
In our second encounter against the Wolves, for once in bright sunlight at Windsor Sports Complex - we often play there at night, in semi-darkness! - the Jets recorded a similar scoreline in their opponents' favour, 26-34. In fact, this Rd24 defeat put the Jets in a very precarious position on the ladder, fighting for a place in the top eight.
Few Jets supporters would have confidently predicted the excitement and success that followed in Rd 25, then through the finals to Grand Final victory!
The Newtown-Parkes connection