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Jets move into fourth place after win over Vulcans
They might have started rather unconvincingly but the Newtown Jets took the points against the Auckland Vulcans at Henson Park on Saturday.
The Jets won by 40-26 after leading 16-14 at half-time, despite being 14-0 down after 25 minutes. The win has moved Newtown into fourth place on the VB NSW Cup competition table.
Confident start by visitors triggers great Newtown response
The Vulcans have a good record against Newtown both at Henson Park and across the Tasman and started this match at full throttle, despite coming off three weeks without a game.
The Aucklanders dominated the first quarter of the game and had enjoyed about 70% of possession after twenty minutes. They made good use of the ball in this time and put on three tries to lead 14-0.
The expected Jets fightback came in the ten minutes leading into half-time. Halfback Ryley Jacks was first to score when he dummied his way through the Vulcans defence, and team captain Kurt Kara scored an amazing individual try when he kicked ahead and took full advantage of a fortuitous bounce in the in-goal area.
Centre Adam Henry scored a minute before half-time after the in-form fullback Henare Wells made the initial break.
Stirring words by coach at half-time
Newtown coach Greg Matterson impressed on his players at the half-time break that this was a winnable game if they completed their sets and played the game in the Vulcans territory.
Newtown run away with game in second half
The Aucklanders were the first to score when they posted a converted try five minutes into the second half to regain the lead by 16-14. The Jets took control of the game with four tries in a fifteen-minute period midway through the second half.
Former Warrior Nafe Seluini scored after he scooped up a kick by Ryley Jacks and Henare Wells added to his season's tally after excellent lead-up work by Dylan Napa and Ben Jones.
Adam Henry and Ryley Jacks each scored their second tries for the day as Newtown drew away to a commanding 36-20 lead.
An attempt at a short goal-line drop-out by the Vulcans went awry as Jets centre Yileen "Buddy" Gordon caught the ball and ploughed his way past several defenders to clock up Newtown's 40 points.
The Vulcans turned on some of their renowned razzle-dazzle football and completed the day's scoring with a converted try in the 79th minute.
The Jets coaching staff praised the Newtown players for holding their nerve after trailing by 14-0 after 25 minutes, and for coming from behind against the giant-killers who had ended Cronulla's unbeaten run some weeks ago.
The salvo of tries leading into half-time showed confidence by the Jets players in their team-mates and no shortage of playing skills.
All of the Newtown forwards had worked hard for this win and showed plenty of application in defence. Dylan Napa, Andrew Pearn, Kurt Kara and Nafe Seluini were the best of the forwards. Both of the halves, Ryley Jacks and Ben Jones, played well along with Henare Wells and winger Pierce Sapsford.
The Jets travel to north-western Sydney for another of the VB NSW Cup season's more gruelling away match assignments, taking on the Windsor Wolves on a mid-winter's Saturday evening. This 20th round match is on Saturday, 27 July, at 6.00pm at the Windsor Sports Complex and will be broadcast live on Hawkesbury FM Radio.
Newtown 40 [Ryley Jacks 2, Adam Henry 2, Kurt Kara, Nafe Seluini, Henare Wells, Buddy Gordon tries; Paul Rokolati 4 goals]
Auckland Vulcans 26 [5 tries; 3 goals]
Half-Time: Newtown led 16-14.
Officials: Referee, Liam Nicholls; Touch Judges, Richard Daizli and Stephen Ellison.
Playing surface: Very good.
Weather: Fine, cloudy, 17 degrees.
When we last played the Vulcans...
A second half-comeback of sorts wasn't enough to make up for an indifferent performance in Auckland in round 2 of the 2013 season.
Happily our 2012 meeting at Henson was much more successful!