Henson Park, Marrickville

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Newtown’s hard-running second-rower Kenny Niko made a solid contribution to the Jets’ win against the Knights on Saturday. Photo: Gary Sutherland Photography
Newtown’s hard-running second-rower Kenny Niko made a solid contribution to the Jets’ win against the Knights on Saturday. Photo: Gary Sutherland Photography

Jets dodge a bullet up on the Hunter – they were nearly brought down by errors and missed try-scoring opportunities

Details of the 22nd Round Intrust Super Premiership NSW match between Newcastle Knights and Newtown, played at Hunter Stadium on Saturday, 6th August 2016 by Glen ‘Bumper’ Dwyer.

Newtown fielded a changed line-up from the previous Saturday’s win against Penrith, with Jordan Drew, Matt Evans and Anthony Moraitis being unavailable due to injury, and with Fa’amanu Brown and Matt McIlwrick being selected in the Cronulla Sharks NRL team to play the Canberra Raiders. The Knights might have been in last place on the ISP NSW competition table, but having been reinforced with several players with NRL experience and being aware that the Jets were understrength, the men from the Hunter region were primed for an upset. The match was telecast live on Fox Sports 1.

NSWRL Intrust Super Premiership – 22nd Round

Saturday, 6th August 2016

Hunter Stadium

Newtown v Newcastle Knights

Kick-Off: 12.40pm.

Newtown 22:

Kurt Capewell, Kenny Niko, Jaline Graham, Lachlan Stein tries;

Kurt Capewell 3 goals


Newcastle Knights 19:

Jaelen Feeney, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Ken Tofilau tries;

Bryce Donovan 2 goals, 1 field goal; Krys Freeman 1 goal.


Newcastle Knights led 13-12.

Newtown’s team:

Jaline Graham, Travis Robinson, Kurt Capewell, Lachlan Stein, Jacob Gagan, Josh Cleeland, Arana Taumata, Kurt Dillon, Jason Schirnack, Malakai Houma, Junior Roqica, Kurt Kara (Capt), Jesse Sene-Lefao.

Interchange: Harrison Muller, Saulala Houma, Corin Smith, Kenny Niko.

Coach: Greg Matterson.

The Newcastle Knights team:

Ryan Walker, Ken Tofilau, Tom Hughes, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Bryce Donovan, Jaelen Feeney, Will Pearsall, Braden Robson, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Pat Mata’utia, Uiti Baker, Krys Freeman, David Bhana.

Interchange: Luke Yates, Ben Stone, Bradie Smith, Sam Bernstrom.

Coach: Matt Lantry.

(Tyme Dow-Nikau is the son of Kiwi great and Melbourne Storm premiership-winner Tawera Nikau, and Krys Freeman is the son of one of the most capped New Zealand Rugby League internationals of all time, Gary “The Wiz” Freeman.)

Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Touch Judges: Darian Furner and Benjamin Teague.

Playing surface: Excellent.

Weather: 15 degrees C, intermittent rain showers, slight southerly breeze.

Match report from the NSWRL website:

Other ISP NSW 22nd Round scores so far this weekend:

Wyong 20 d New Zealand Warriors 16; Wests Tigers 22 d Penrith 18; Illawarra Cutters 30 d Manly-Warringah 28; Mounties 22 d Canterbury Bulldogs 20; Wentworthville 28 North Sydney 20.

The ISP NSW competition table with one match still to be played in the 22nd Round:

Gary Sutherland’s photos from Hunter Stadium:

Timeline of yesterday’s Jets-Knights 22nd Round ISP NSW match:

First half:

Knights kicked off, running to the northern end of Hunter Stadium.

5th min: Feeney grubber kicked into the in-goal, Jaline Graham was unable to gather cleanly and Feeney grounded the ball and scored.

Converted by Bryce Donovan. Knights led 6-0 after 6 mins.

One Newtown official observed that with the persistent rain and the slippery playing conditions, this match was going to be “a real blood and guts, slogging encounter”.

Knight backrower Mata’utia made a big run out from his own line in the 9th min.

The Knights were making midfield metres and were winning the battle of field position at this early stage.

In the 11th min the Jets made a great supporting surge up the middle, with short passes and eager backing up but … Arana Taumata loses the football right on the tryline.

Kevin Walters commented on Fox Sports that short passing and keen support play through the middle of the field works in any weather conditions.

13th min – excellent kick chase by the former Ipswich Jets duo Kurt Capewell and Josh Cleeland.

14th min – Capewell put on a big step, beat two Knights defenders and scored to the right of the southern end goal-posts.

He converted his own try – 6-all after 15 mins.

Newtown received their third penalty at the 17th min mark.

Jason Schirnack was injured in a head clash in the 18th min and went off for a concussion test.

This tough hombre is one fellow you wouldn’t want to lose for the rest of the day in a game being played under these conditions.

Kurt Capewell continued to prove to be a handful for his Knights opponents.

Penalties were 4-2 to Newtown in the 22nd min.

Jets knocked on at dummy-half in the 23rd min and an attacking opportunity was lost.

One of Newtown’s most experienced forwards, Junior Roqica, appeared to injure his upper arm in the 24th min.

Penalties 5-2 to Newtown in 25th min.

Newtown would need to make the most of this possession while the breaks were going their way.

26th min – Good pass from Cleeland to Kenny Niko, and showing good footwork and strength the Hawkes Bay (NZ) junior hit and spun his way through three tackles to score to the right of the posts.

Converted by Capewell. Newtown led 12-6 after 27 mins.

Josh Cleeland went close to scoring in the 29th min but the Knights got a 7-tackle set – did the referee get that ruling right?

Good news for Newtown – Jason Schirnack was cleared to return.

Knights attacked down their left-side and Dow-Nikau came back inside on an angle and scored in the 31st min.

Donovan converted from wide out, 12-all after 32 mins.

Knights seemed to be getting quicker play-the-balls going.

Let off for Newtown – Mata’utia broke through for the Knights but died with the ball on the 5th tackle five metres out from Newtown’s line (35th min).

Jacob Gagan and Kurt Capewell caused problems for the Knights when they received good ball.

Lachlan Stein went close for the Jets in the 38th min.

Knights right side defence proving hard to crack.

Jets failed to defuse a high kick by the Knights, scrum feed to the Knights virtually in the last second of the first half.

Donovan snapped a field goal.

Half-Time: Newcastle Knights led 31-12.

First half completions: Newtown 15/21, Knights 16/18.

Jets had 54% of possession.

High missed tackles count by Knights.

Second half:

Newtown ran with the breeze and kicked off.

Capewell backed up Graham and then sent it back inside to the fullback who ran around to score under the northern-end goal posts (44th min).

Capewell converted, Newtown led 18-13.

Concerted attack by Knights down their right side nearly brought a try (49th min).

Jaline Graham injured making a tackle.

Penalty to Knights gave them attacking opportunity.

Good off-loads by Knights ball-carriers led to try to Ken Tofilau in south-eastern corner.

Krys Freeman converted from the sideline, kicking into the rain and breeze.

Knights were back in the lead 19-18 (52nd min).

Jets knock on midfield giving the Knights good field position.

Knights went desperately close to scoring in 56th min.

Roqica is back on for Jets.

Capewell and Cleeland once again led an effective kick chase.

Continued light drizzle affected the handling of both sides.

Knights knock on and then Jets lost the ball on the first tackle in 59th min, stymying an attacking opportunity.

Knights had the better ball control in third quarter.

Knights line speed in defence put pressure on Jets and forced another handling error (61st min).

Both teams tried to put on big defensive shots to force handling errors in the difficult handling conditions.

Jets knocked on behind their own tryline in 62nd min, forced into a goal-line drop kick.

Jets knock on again near their own line in 63rd min.

Newtown defence under enormous pressure.

There have been five Jets handling errors in less than ten minutes.

Cleeland short kicks, regathered but lost the ball over the Knights line in the 68th min.

Clock starting to work against the Jets.

Knights in turn lose the ball in a play-the-ball in Newtown’s 20 metre line in 69th min.

Jets lose the ball in catching a high Knights kick in 73rd min.

Jets received a relieving penalty in 74th min when Knights player penalised for back-chatting referee.

Krys Freeman off for a concussion check.

Jets turn the ball over under no pressure in 75th min.

Knights lose the ball midfield in 76th min.

Last chance for Jets:

They move the ball to the right looking for the elusive Capewell, but Cleeland switched the direction of the attack.

Taumata positioned Stein well who hit the gap and scored to the left of the northern posts in 77th min.

Newtown 22-19.

Capewell’s attempted conversion hit the right upright and bounced away. (78th min).

Knights regained the ball from the short kick-off.

Pass knocked down by Jets in 79th min but had the Knights stepped out first?

Knights scrum-feed at Newtown’s end five metres out.

Knights grubber kick into the in-goal defused by Jaline Graham.

Full-Time: Newtown 22 d Newcastle Knights 19.

Match completions: Newtown 24/38 (9/17 in second half). Knights 32/41.

Knights 51% of possession for game and majority of ball in second half.

Knights had the most missed tackles for the game.

Newtown received 8 penalties to 7, and made 9 line-breaks to the Knights 5.

Newtown Jets centre Kurt Capewell was the deserved winner of the Fox Sports man of the match award.

See you at the Golden Barley Hotel after this Saturday's game at Henson Park.

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Newtown Jets respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the Land and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on and that the land area encompassing Henson Park traditionally belonged to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.