Henson Park            (Wilson Blacklock Cup)

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The Newtown Jets middle forward Max Bradbury heads straight into the furnace of the Canberra Raiders forwards' defence. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography
The Newtown Jets middle forward Max Bradbury heads straight into the furnace of the Canberra Raiders forwards' defence. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Jets salvage a competition point with a determined display against strong opponents

Newtown’s makeshift team competed bravely against the unbeaten competition leaders.

The Canberra supporter who suggested before Saturday’s game at Henson Park that the Raiders were capable of putting forty points on the board against Newtown wasn’t boasting – he was merely making the point that the Raiders faithful considered their 2024 NSW Cup team to be one of the strongest squads they have fielded in several years.

Regardless of pre-match expectations, Newtown made a great start to the game with five-eighth Kade Dykes scoring in the second minute of his return to rugby league, when he backed up an audacious midfield break by the lively young fullback Liam Ison.

Several minutes later centre Chris Vea’ila beat two tackles and skilfully flicked a pass to winger Sam Stonestreet who scored in the Hill corner. Halfback Niwhai Puru served up a beautifully timed pass for strongman centre Addison Demetriou to run a sharp angle and score under the posts. Puru converted two of these tries for Newtown to take an unlikely 16-0 lead after twenty minutes.

Inevitably this powerful Raiders lineup, with several players having NRL experience and a former Australian representative in its ranks, was bound to hit back at what was a less than full strength Jets team. Canberra scored tries in the 23rd minute and another right on halftime, with the latter being dubious to say the least. Newtown led 16-12 at the break in a game that was being played in unusually warm conditions for late March.

The huge Raiders forward pack took control of the third quarter of the game, when they dominated possession and made a lot of ground through the middle. Canberra added three tries to lead 26-16 after sixty minutes, and the game seemed to be there for the Raiders taking. A penalty goal to the Raiders in the 65th minute meant that Canberra now had the points-buffer of a margin of two converted tries.

Newtown’s fightback might have seemed unlikely in the prevailing sultry conditions, but the impressive Vea’ila shrugged off two tacklers to score in the south-west corner. Puru’s conversion put Newtown within striking distance, with the Jets now trailing 28-22. Interestingly, Newtown had scored this vital try with twelve men while the fiery Addison Demetriou was cooling his heels in the sin bin.

The momentum of the game had swung and the Jets  were applying pressure at the Raiders end of the field. Centre Jackson Ferris, well remembered for his heroics in the 2019 NRL State Championship Final and now back in Newtown’s colours, used strength and pace to burst pass his opposite numbers to score in the south-east corner. Puru converted from the sideline again and the two sides were locked together at 28-all.

As fate would have it, a last minute field goal attempt by Niwhai Puru failed to secure a Newtown victory, but the bravery and spirit showed by this less than full strength Jets lineup was well acknowledged by the Newtown fans.

It is worth noting the changes made to the Newtown NSW Cup through injury (Billy Magoulias was out with an injured knee, and he was replaced by big Brad Fearnley as lock and team captain). There had also been a series of call-ups into the Cronulla Sharks NRL squad where there had been a run of injuries.

Among the Jets players on Saturday relatively new to the team were the high-energy fullback Liam Ison, who was in just his second NSW Cup match; five-eighth Kade Dykes was back in senior level rugby league for the first time since missing the entire 2023 season; the feisty front-rower Max Bradbury is still eligible for Jersey Flegg selection, but he ripped into his NRL-hardened Raiders opponents with gusto; hooker Joshua Cook (ex-South Sydney) was on debut for Newtown at the NSW Cup level; the young interchange forward Salesi Ataata (still eligible for Jersey Flegg) made his NSW Cup debut on Saturday; and Jordan Swann, a strongly-built centre previously with the Sydney Roosters, was also making his NSW Cup competition game debut for the Jets.

Newtown coach George Ndaira was pleased with his team’s willingness to force their way back into the game just when the Raiders seemed to have an iron grip on the outcome of the match, when they led 28-16 with just on fifteen minutes to play. Some of the big Raiders pack seemed to find Sydney’s hothouse autumn conditions hard to cope with late in the second half.

Newtown has a bye in round five of the NSW Cup this coming weekend, 6th and 7th April. The Jets next game is in round six of the NSW Cup against South Sydney on Saturday, 13th April at Accor Stadium, Homebush, with the kick-off timed for 5.10pm.

This 6th round NSW Cup match is a curtain-raiser to the South Sydney v Cronulla Sharks NRL fixture at 7.35pm.

Newtown Jets fullback Liam Ison goes straight under the Canberra Raiders defensive line as he makes the break that led to the try by Kade Dykes in the game’s second minute. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup
Fourth Round
Saturday, 30th March 2024
Henson Park
Newtown (fifth place) v Canberra Raiders (first place)
Kick-Off: 3.00pm

Weather: 29 degrees, sunny, cloudless
Humidity: 50%; Dew Point: 17%
Wind: 15 km/h ENE

Playing surface: Excellent

Referee: Cameron Turner Touch Judges: Liam Nicholls and Nick Beashel

Match Result: –
Newtown 28:

Kade Dykes, Sam Stonestreet, Addison Demetriou,
Chris Vea’íla, Jackson Ferris tries:
Niwhai Puru 4 conversions
drew with
Canberra Raiders 28:

Simi Sasagi, Trey Mooney, Hohepa Puru,
Kaeo Weekes, Jed Stuart tries;
Adam Cook 3 conversions, 1 penalty goal.Half-Time: Newtown led 16-12

Sin Bin: Addison Demetriou 60th minute.

Saturday’s teams: –
Newtown’s team was:

Fullback: Liam Ison
Wingers: Tom Rodwell, Sam Stonestreet
Centres: Chris Vea’ila, Addison Demetriou
Halves: Kade Dykes, Niwhai Puru
Lock: Brad Fearnley (Captain)
Second-Rowers: Blake Hosking, Jordin Leiu
Front-Rowers: Max Bradbury, Rhys Dakin
Hooker: Josh Cook.
Interchange: Sam Healey, Salesi Ataata, Jordan Swann, Jackson Ferris
18th Man: Tyla Tamou
Coach: George Ndaira
Trainers: – Blue Shirt: Tommy Haberecht; Yellow Shirt: Fletcher Graham; Orange Shirt: Chris Moubarak.The Canberra Raiders team:
Fullback: Chevy Stewart
Wingers: Michael Asomua, Jed Stuart
Centres: Nick Cotric, Manaia Waitere
Halves: Kaeo Weekes, Adam Cook
Lock: Hohepa Puru (Captain)
Second Rowers: Mitchell Spencer, Simi Sasagi
Front Rowers: Trey Mooney, Emre Guler
Hooker: Zac Woolford
Interchange: Adrian Trevilyan, Peter Hola, Loghan Lewis, Prinston Eseta.
18th Man: Luke Webley
Coach: Brock Sheppherd
Trainers: – Blue Shirt: Corey Harawira; Yellow Shirt: Mick Howard; Orange Shirt: Stephen Batger.

Match Timeline: –
Newtown v Canberra Raiders, 30th March 2024:
First Half:

2nd minute: Kade Dykes try under the northern posts
Niwhai Puru converted
Newtown 6-0
8th Minute: Sam Stonestreet try in the north-east corner
Not converted; Newtown 10-0
19th minute: Addison Demetriou try under the northern posts
Niwhai Puru converted
Newtown 16-0
23rd minute: Simi Sasagi try
Converted by Adam Cook
Newtown 16-6
39th minute: Trey Mooney try
Adam Cook conversion
Newtown 16-12
Half-Time: Newtown led 16-12.

Second Half:
47th minute: Hohepa Puru try
Adam Cook conversion
Canberra Raiders 18-16
50th minute: Kaeo Weekes try
Not converted. Canberra Raiders 22-16
57th minute: Jed Stuart try
Not converted. Canberra Raiders 26-16
60th minute: Addison Demetriou (Newtown) sin binned
65th minute: Adam Cook penalty goal.
Canberra Raiders 28-16.
68th minute: Chris Vea’ila try in the south-western corner
Niwhai Puru converted the try from wide out
Canberra Raiders 28-22
71st minute: Addison Demetriou (Newtown) back on the field
72nd minute: Jackson Ferris try in the south-eastern corner
Niwhai Puru converted the try from wide out.
79th minute: Niwhai Puru misses field goal attempt.
Full-Time: Newtown drew with Canberra Raiders 28-all.

NSWRL TV Highlights of the Newtown v Canberra Raiders game:–nsw-cup-jets-v-raiders—round-four/The NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup competition table after four rounds:

Newtown has the bye in Round Five of the NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup competition draw (6th-7th April 2024).

Newtown’s next game is:
NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup
Round Six
Saturday, 13th April 2024
Accor Stadium, Homebush
South Sydney v Newtown
Kick-Off: 5.10pm.
This match is a curtain-raiser to the South Sydney v Cronulla Sharks NRL match at 7.35pm.     

Jets middle forward Rhys Dakin receives some “royal treatment” from these Canberra Raiders forwards.
Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography
Jets forward Blake Hosking (number 12) congratulates Kade Dykes (right) on making a successful comeback to the rugby league playing arena.. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography
The Puru brothers – Niwhai (Newtown Jets) (left) and Hohepa (Canberra Raiders) after the titanic duel of their respective teams at Henson Park. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography
Royal Blue Legend Club members Craig Wheeler & Rob Walton enjoying the Saturday afternoon sun at Henson with other members of the Wheeler family including Brittany with her puppy Gnocchi in his Newtown coat & friends.

Image: MAF Photography

Newtown Jets Team List v Penrith Panthers Sat 25th May, 2024

Newtown second-rower and team captain Billy Burns (in possession) was in top form as the Jets ran up a big win over the Newcastle Knights. Tom Rodwell (in the headgear) is in the background.
Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Jets in biggest win of the season as they run riot in the second half

Image: MAF Photography

Newtown Jets Team List v Newcastle Knights Sun 19th May 2024

Newtown Jets fullback Kade Dykes (in possession) was in superb form on Sunday, scoring three tries, including the winning try in the last ninety seconds of the game. Other Newtown players in the photo are (from the left) Sam Healey, Jackson Ferris and Khaled Rajab. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Jets snatch victory in the last ninety seconds of the game

Image: MAF Photography

Newtown Jets Team List v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles Sun 12th May 2024

Newtown Jets back-rower Billy Burns bursts through the Dragons defence on Saturday. Jets centre and goal-kicker Mawene Hiroti is at the left of the photo. Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography)

Second half points surge puts the Jets back in the winner’s circle

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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.