Jets Show Great Determination in Opening Round Victory
The Newtown Jets won a tough encounter with St George-Illawarra in the opening round of the newly-rebranded Knock-On Effect NSW Cup at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets won 16-10 after the Dragons had led 6-4 at halftime. Steady rain fell throughout the game but the Jets’ high completion rate and good handling in the second half played a big part in their grinding win.
Newtown lost both centres to injury in the first half – Tyrone Phillips with an arm injury after 30 minutes and Jackson Ferris was forced off at halftime with an injured ankle. The loss of both centres led to some serious reshuffling of the Jets second half line-up, with backrowers moving into the backline and hooker Kyle Patterson into the halves.
Veteran international and long-serving NRL front-rower Andrew Fifita made his debut for the Newtown Jets, and he put in a solid performance on a day when it was a case of “all hands to the pumps” with regard to Newtown’s difficult situation.
Both teams scored tries in the third quarter and the scores were locked up at 10-all with just over twenty minutes left to play. The game might have been a dour struggle in the constant rain and slippery conditions, but the tied scores and the sheer intensity of this contest kept the crowd enthralled.
Newtown’s middle forwards worked extremely hard, with big efforts turned in by Andrew Fifita, Monty Raper, Tom Hazelton, Daniel Vasquez and the indefatigable Gabe Hamlin. Back-rowers Bronson Garlick, Brock Gray and Teig Wilton also made strong contributions.
Wingers Nene Macdonald and Eddie Aiono deserve special mention for getting thoroughly involved in the forwards’ workload and for making a lot of valuable ground stepping through the tiring Dragons pack members.
Halfback Braydon Trindall set up a superb try for Eddie Aiono early in the second half by way of a master-class cut-out pass. Trindall slashed through the Dragons defence with a trademark “show and go” break for a try in the 73rd minute.
Coach Greg Matterson praised all of his players in the dressing-room after full-time, saying that this was one of the best and bravest first-round victories for the Jets since he had assumed the NSW Cup coaching position back in 2008.
Newtown has a short turnaround for their second round match, when they meet the Newcastle Knights at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford on Friday, 19th March at 3.45pm. This match is a curtain-raiser to the New Zealand Warriors-Newcastle Knights NRL fixture.
NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, Round One, Sunday, 14th March 2021, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah
St George-Illawarra v Newtown
Newtown 16 (Teig Wilton, Eddie Aiono, Braydon Trindall tries; Braydon Trindall 2 conversions) defeated St George-Illawarra 10 (Jackson Ford, Max Feagai tries; Sitiveni Moceidreke 1 conversion).
Half-Time: St George-Illawarra led 6-4.
Referee: Henry Perenara
Touch Judges: Cameron Paddy and Benjamin Teague.
Weather: Overcast, steady light rain, 17 degrees Celsius.
Wind: S 35 kmph.
Playing surface: Excellent.
Newtown’s team was:
Honeti Tuha, Edward Aiono, Tyrone Phillips, Jackson Ferris, Nene Macdonald, Manaia Rudolph, Braydon Trindall, Gabe Hamlin, Bronson Garlick, Teig Wilton, Daniel Vasquez, Kyle Paterson, Andrew Fifita.
Interchange: Zac Woolford, Brock Gray, Thomas Hazelton, Monty Raper.
Reserve: Kayleb Milne.
Coach: Greg Matterson.
Sitiveni Moceidreke, Shaun Sauni-Esau, Mathew Feagai, Max Feagai, Jordan Perreira, Tyran Wishart, Zeik Foster, Jackson Ford, Josh Carr, Charly Runciman, Jaiden Hunt, Billy Brittain, Kaide Ellis.
Interchange: Sam McCann, Matt Delbanco, Hayden Lomax, Luke Chalker.
Reserve: Lachlan Peachey.
First half: Newtown 70%, Dragons 68%
Second half: Newtown 92%, Dragons 77%
Full-time: Newtown 82%, Dragons 72%.
First half: Newtown 55%, Dragons 45%
Second half: Newtown 62%, Dragons 38%
Full-time: Newtown 59%, Dragons 41%.
First half: Dragons 3-1
Second half: Newtown 1-0
Full-time: Dragons 3-2.
Newtown’s next game:
NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, Round Two
Friday, 19th March 2021
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Newcastle Knights v Newtown