(Wenty Park Super Saturday)


Wentworth Park, Glebe

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Newtown RLFC Assistant Coach Tony Barnes talks with the Jets players at the first break during Saturday's trial match at the Morry Breen Field, Wyong. Photo: Steven Russo
Newtown RLFC Assistant Coach Tony Barnes talks with the Jets players at the first break during Saturday's trial match at the Morry Breen Field, Wyong. Photo: Steven Russo

Jets late try snatches victory from the Knights

Newtown and the Newcastle Knights turned on a hard fought NSW Cup trial match at the Morry Breen Field, Wyong on Saturday evening, with the Jets seizing the lead late in the match to win 20-16.

The Knights had commandeered an early lead, scoring two converted tries to lead 12-0 after only five minutes of play.

This match was played in humid conditions and the playing time was divided into three twenty-five minute segments. Newtown trailed by 12-6 after the first twenty-five minutes had been played, and the scores were locked up at 16-all after 50 minutes.

This was a very willing contest for a trial match and Newtown’s head coach George Ndaira was impressed with the defensive commitment of his team, bearing in mind that not all of the 24 players deployed by the Jets had not even trained together prior to the game.

The 24-man Jets team on Saturday was made up partly by 14 members of Newtown’s pre-season squad. The other 10 players were drawn from the Cronulla Sharks Jersey Flegg group, along with several players who had acted as reserves for the Sharks NRL team that had played the Knights in Gosford earlier on Saturday afternoon.

The energy-sapping playing conditions might have led to some wayward passes and dropped ball by both sides but the determination of the defensive performances by both teams was a distinguishing feature of the game.

Head coach George Ndaira praised those younger Jets players who had joined the Newtown contingent on the day of the game.

Jets pre-season squad members who stood out included team captain and five-eighth Billy Magoulias, who scored Newtown’s first try and then set up the winning play two minutes from full-time with a superbly flighted cut-out pass, which led to winger Siteni Taukamo’s match-winning touchdown.

Centre Jackson Ferris, back with the Jets after several seasons at other clubs, impressed with a number of incisive breaks, and Kyle Pickering, usually a centre or second-rower, filled in very capably at half-back.

In the forwards, Jordin Leiu made a successful return to the playing arena after being injured midway through the 2023 season. Big men Brad Fearnley and Rhys Dakin, who had turned in impressive pre-season training performances, look to be set for strong seasons in 2024.

Young forward trialists like Max Bradbury, Salesi Ataata (who scored two tries), Dylan Coutts and Felix Fa’atili all took the opportunity to impress in this vigorously-contested NSW Cup trial.

For the record, Billy Magoulias and fullback Tyla Tamou were involved in sending winger Siteni Taukamo (who had represented Greece in the 2022 World Cup) over for Newtown’s winning try two minutes out from full-time.

This was in fact the first time that Newtown had taken the lead in this absorbing match – in the 73rd minute of the 75 minutes-long encounter!

Newtown plays Canterbury-Bankstown in their second trial match for 2024 on Saturday, 24th February at Henson Park at 6.00pm.

NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Pre-Season Trial Match:

Saturday, 17th February 2024

Morry Breen Oval, Wyong

Kick-Off: 5.00pm.

Newcastle Knights v Newtown

The match was played over three twenty-five minute segments.

Newtown’s team was:
Fullback: Tyla Tamou
Wingers: Kristian Dixon (Cronulla Jersey Flegg), Siteni Taukamo (Cronulla Jersey Flegg, Greece World Cup representative)
Centres: Addison Demetriou, Jackson Ferris
Halves: Billy Magoulias (Captain), Kyle Pickering
Lock: Brad Fearnley
Second-Row: Jordan Swann (ex-Sydney Roosters NSW Cup), Jordin Leiu (his first game back after suffering a pectoral muscle injury in June last year)
Front-Row: Kurt Dillon, Rhys Dakin
Hooker: A. N. Other.

Max Bradbury (Front-Row; Cronulla Jersey Flegg)

Salesi Ataata (Front-Row; Cronulla Jersey Flegg)
Lachy Woodger (Hooker; Wests Tigers Jersey Flegg)
Blake Hosking (Lock, Second-Row; had been a reserve for the Cronulla Sharks NRL squad earlier in the afternoon)
Nick Stonestreet (Winger; Cronulla Sharks Jersey Flegg)
A.N. Other.
Taj Ford (Half-Back; ex-Illawarra Steelers SB Ball)
Te Wehi Waitere (Winger, Centre; Cronulla Jersey Flegg)
Max Riolo (Five-Eighth; Cronulla Jersey Flegg)
Dylan Coutts (Lock, Second-Row; ex-Manly-Warringah SG Ball; eligible for Cronulla Sharks Jersey Flegg for the next two years; 195 cm, 101 kg)
Felix Fa’atili (Front-Row; Cronulla Sharks SG Ball, ex-Wynnum-Manly Seagulls (Qld); an absolute giant.)

Head Coach: George Ndaira.
Assistant Coaches: Greg Matterson, Tony Barnes, Mick Dabela.

Newtown 20:
Salesi Ataata 2, Billy Magoulias, Siteni Taukamo tries; Addison Demetriou 2 conversions
Newcastle Knights 16:
3 tries, 2 conversions.

The Newcastle Knights led 12-0 after just five minutes.
The Knights led 12-6 after the first segment of twenty-five minutes.

The score was 16-all after fifty minutes.
That remained the score until the seventy-third minute (the second-last minute of the game)
Not surprisingly, Billy Magoulias was involved in the winning try.
Full-Time: Newtown 20 defeated Newcastle Knights 16.

Image: MAF Photography

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Image: MAF Photography

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The Henson
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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.