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Jets halfback Niwhai Puru on his way to his second try. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography
Jets halfback Niwhai Puru on his way to his second try. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Jets dominant first half ensures win in second NSW Cup trial

Newtown defeated Canterbury-Bankstown 40-32 in a high-scoring Knock-On Effect NSW Cup trial match, played at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday, 19th February.

This was Newtown’s second and final trial for the 2023 pre-season. The match commenced at 11.50am and was played in very warm conditions. Newtown took control of the game midway through the first half and ran up a formidable 34-6 lead by half-time. The Jets ran in five tries in the second quarter of the game in what was an impressive exhibition of attacking football, keen support play and control through the middle.

Front-rower prospect Max Bradbury takes the ball into the thick of the Bulldogs defence. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

The second half was a curious combination of a relatively even contest throughout the third quarter, ending in the Bulldogs running in four tries in the final eight minutes of the game. Newtown’s big lead at half-time was not likely to be overhauled, but the Canterbury try-scoring onslaught left the Newtown coaching staff with some issues to consider before the first competition round at Henson Park on Saturday, 4th March.

Newtown’s seven tries were scored by halfback Niwhai Puru (2 tries), backrower Charbel Tasipale, fullback Trentham Petersen, winger Thomas Rodwell, lock Billy Magoulias and five-eighth Johnny-Lee Gabrael. The scrum-half Niwhai Puru was an off-season signing by the Sharks from Penrith and he made a memorable debut in Newtown’s colours. In addition to his two tries, he also landed five conversions and a penalty goal.

Several players in Sunday’s trial had been members of Newtown’s 2022 roster. These included wingers Thomas Rodwell and Samuel Stonestreet, centre Kayal Iro (the 2022 NSW Cup Player of the Year and a Cook Islands World Cup representative), lock Billy Magoulias (who represented Greece in last year’s World Cup), backrower Charbel Tasipale (a Lebanese World Cup representative), giant front-rower Thomas Hazelton and hookers Jayden Berrell and Isaac Longmuir.

Billy Magoulias takes the ball forward in Sunday’s trial match at Belmore. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography
Jets hooker Jayden Berrell breaks through the Canterbury defence. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

A particularly interesting inclusion in Newtown’s team on Sunday was the former Australian Test winger and NSW State of Origin representative Josh Mansour. Josh has indicated he is interested in playing with Newtown, while remaining open to any offers from NRL clubs.

Josh Mansour is interviewed after fulltime on Sunday by journalist Brendan Bradford. (Newtown RLFC Twitter)

The Newtown Jets player Marco Talagi was badly injured in the second half and taken from the field on a stretcher.

Newtown’s head coach George Ndaira and his staff will now get to work on putting together a team from the Jets unbeaten pre-season squad and from those Cronulla Sharks squad members made available for selection.

The Jets first Knock-On Effect NSW Cup competition game for 2023 is against South Sydney at Henson Park on Saturday, 4th March at 3.00pm.

Sunday’s match details were: –

NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Trial Match:

Sunday, 19th February 2023

Belmore Sports Ground

Canterbury-Bankstown v Newtown

Kick-Off: 11.50am.

Newtown’s team:
Fullback: Trentham Petersen
Wingers: Thomas Rodwell, Samuel Stonestreet
Centres: Kyle Pickering, Kayal Iro

Halves: Johnny-Lee Gabrael, Niwhai Puru
Lock: Billy Magoulias

Second-Rowers: Jordin Leiu

Front-Rowers: Thomas Hazelton, Rhys Dakin

Hooker: Jayden Berrell

Interchange: –

Adam Fearnley, Josh Finau, Sam Healey, Blake Hosking

Max Bradbury, Kai Parker, Wyatt Rangi, Isaac Longmuir

Josh Mansour, Connor Garraty, Marco Talagi.

Coach: George Ndaira.


Fullback: Joash Papalii

Wingers: Jayden Okunbor, Blake Wilson

Centres: Jeral Skelton, Eli Clark

Halves: Khaled Rajab, Bailey Hayward

Lock: Reece Hoffman

Second-Rowers: Jackson Topine, Harrison Edwards

Front-Rowers: Kurtis Morrin, Jayden Tanner

Hooker: Ryan Gray.

Brandon Clarke, Zac Hetherington, Jack Stringer, Zane Bijoric

Joseph O’Neil, Zac Montgomery, Peni Tagutuimua, Lipoi Hopoi,

Josh Kalati, Harry Hayes, Jonah Glover.

Newtown 40:
Niwhai Puru 2, Charbel Tasipale, Trentham Petersen, Thomas Rodwell, Billy Magoulias, Johnny-Lee Gabrael tries;

Niwhai Puru 5 conversions and 1 penalty goal
Canterbury-Bankstown 32:

6 tries, 4 conversions.

Half-Time:  Newtown led 34-6

Playing surface: Excellent.

Weather: Sunny, 28 degrees.

Newtown’s next game:
NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup – Round One
Saturday, 4th March 2023

Henson Park
Newtown v South Sydney
Kick-Off: 3.00pm.


BEER FOOTY FOOD FESTIVAL 2024 – Saturday July 27 Henson Park

Image: MAF Photography

Newtown Jets Team List v Newcastle Knights Sat 20th July 2024

The Jets backrower Jordin Leiu turned in a high-value performance against the third-placed Canterbury Bulldogs. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Newtown Jets run up a big win at home over near-neighbours Canterbury-Bankstown

Image: MAF Photography

Newtown Jets Team List v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Sat 13th July, 2024

This Wests Magpies player is well dealt with by (from left): Sam Healey, Toby Rudolf, Jordin Leiu and Braden Hamlin-Uele. Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Jets take the two points, but there was room for improvement in the second half performance

Image: MAF Photography

Newtown Jets Team List v Wests Magpies (Tommy Raudonikis Cup) Sat 6th July, 2024

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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.