The Newtown Jets let a winning opportunity slip last weekend when a late Tigers try saw the two teams finish in a 22-all draw, leaving them in desperate need of some wins over the final four rounds.
The Jets will need to start their winning run this weekend and face a difficult assignment up against the competition leading Panthers in a match to be played at Henson Park.
Giving them some confidence will be the fact that Newtown were able to convincingly win the only meeting between the two teams this year when they came away 24-8 winners back in round three.
The Jets will again be without regular back rower Junior Roqica who is on duty with the Sharks NRL side, however their backline features a number of Cronulla-contracted players.
The Jets v Panthers NSW Cup fixture is scheduled for a 3.00pm kick off at Henson on Saturday.
Also see following a match report and details from the Jets v Wests Tigers game from last weekend.
NSW Cup Team List – Round 23
Jets v Panthers
Saturday, August 15
1 Daniel Abou-Sleiman
2 Nathan Gardner
3 Mitch Brown
4 Sami Sauiluma
5 Corey Brown
6 Blake Ayshford
7 Todd Murphy
8 Andrew Pearn
9 Kurt Kara
10 Myles Taueli
11 Tarek Elmasri
12 Junior Roqica
13 Tim Robinson
14 Ahmad Ellaz
15 Pat Politoni
16 Kurt Dillon
17 Ray Moujalli
21 Saulala Houma
23 Malakai Houma
Round 22 Match Report – Courtesy Newtown Jets Media
Draw keeps the Jets finals hopes alive … but only just.
All the tension of finals football came early to Leichhardt Oval last Saturday, as the Newtown Jets and Wests Tigers fought out a 22-all draw in the 22nd round of the NSW Cup. Wests Tigers led 12-6 at the break and 16-10 ten minutes into the second half, and then the Jets took a 22-16 lead with fifteen minutes left to play. The Tigers drew level at 22-all with two minutes remaining, and they added to the drama with a last-minute long-range field goal attempt that drifted wide.
This televised match was played in perfect weather and with the Leichhardt Oval playing surface in pristine condition. The Jets had to weather some early pressure and then scored first when Sami Sauiluma sent Nathan Gardner over in the north-western corner, with Todd Murphy converting from the sideline. The Tigers scored twice on the back of Newtown errors at their own end to lead 12-6 after 18 minutes. The Jets then had to withstand an extended period of pressure with Wests Tigers having several sets inside Newtown’s twenty metres. The Tigers missed a couple of scoring opportunities in this period and Newtown then had some attacking chances closer to halftime.
Both teams went close to scoring early in the second half but Newtown turned on a classic try in the 50th minute that could feature in any club’s season highlights. Myles Taueli, Saulala Houma, Blake Ayshford and Sami Sauiluma were all involved in a high speed, precision passing movement that saw Nathan Gardner collect his second try. Wests Tigers responded quickly through a booming 40/20 kick that led to the Tigers scoring a try and extending their lead to 16-10.
The Jets best period of the game was midway through the second half, with well-taken tries to Daniel Abou-Sleiman and Tarek El Masri that were both converted by Todd Murphy. The pendulum swung back to the Tigers late in the game when there were critical incidents that allowed them attacking momentum. Repeat sets gave Wests Tigers the edge that saw them post a converted try two minutes from fulltime. Both sides had to settle for the one competition point but one Jets official noted that as he watched the last-minute field goal attempt soar towards the posts, “he was thinking the unthinkable”.
Newtown coach Greg Matterson observed that this was yet another tight finish for the Jets where they did not come away with the two competition points. There had been plenty of effort right across the team but Newtown’s errors at critical moments late in the game gave the Tigers that belated window of opportunity. Younger Jets players like Malakai Houma, Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Tarek El Masri and Myles Taueli deserved mention for their strong performances in such a high pressure game.
The Newtown Jets return home to Henson Park this Saturday (15th August) for what is a must-win assignment against the third-placed Penrith Panthers. This 23rd round NSW Cup match will kick off at 3.00pm.
Nathan Gardner 2, Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Tarek El Masri tries; Todd Murphy 3 goals
Wests Tigers 22
Chance Peni 2, Nathan Milone, Kurtis Rowe tries; Josh Drinkwater 3 goals.
Wests Tigers team: Kurtis Rowe, Delouise Hoeter, Nathan Milone, Keith Lulia, Chance Peni, Tim Moltzen, Josh Drinkwater (Capt), Jarred Farlow, Lamar Liolevave, Asipeli Fine, Jordan Grant, Joel Luani, Michael Bullock. Bench: Penani Manumalealii, Andy Fiagatusa, Brenden Santi, Junior Tatola.
Coach: Paul Fletcher.
Newtown’s team: Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Nathan Gardner, Mitch Brown, Sami Sauiluma, Corey Brown, Blake Ayshford (Capt), Todd Murphy, Tim Robinson, Tarek El Masri, Kurt Dillon, Andrew Pearn, Kurt Kara, Myles Taueli. Bench: Pat Politoni, Ray Moujalli, Saulala Houma, Malakai Houma. (18th man: Corin Smith). Coach: Greg Matterson.
Caption: Newtown Jets front-rower Saulala Houma gets his pass away to Daniel Abou-Sleiman at Leichhardt Oval last Saturday.
Photo: Mario Facchini Photography.