In a solid hit out in their final trial before the start of the NSW Cup season, the Newtown Jets have gone down by 18-12 to the Wests Tigers.
In a match where the Jets fielded 11 Sharks NRL squad members, the Newtown side struggled at times with their combinations but toiled hard throughout.
Improving as the match went on, time ran out on the Jets however coach Greg Matterson would have been encouraged by what he saw from his team the more familiar they became with each other in what was the first time the Sharks and Jets have come together as a team in 2016.
The Tigers put the first 10 points on the board, before the Jets scored their first and only try of the opening half through Jason Schirnack when the Newtown centre won the race to an Arana Taumata grubber.
The kick at goal was off target but the Newtown side had narrowed the margin to just six, a difference the two teams would take to the half time break.
The Tigers added two more tries, making it 18-4, one a dubious four pointer in the south-western corner, before the Jets struck back courtesy of one of their 11 Sharks.
Given the ball 10 metres out and with two defenders in front of him and plenty to do, Jordan Drew crashed over near to touch in a positive moment for the Jets and a confidence booster for the young Shark.
With heavy rain now falling the kick at goal proved to be too much of an ask but the Jets were back somewhere within striking distance at 18-8 behind.
The rain hindered the attack of both teams as the match appeared to be petering out to an eventful finish, before a skirmish broke out resulting in Schirnack and his Tigers opposite being sent to the sin bin.
The Jets would creep closer when Sharks Josh Cleeland, Anthony Moraitis and Drew would combine for a Tuamata try but time would run out on the Newtown challenge.
In assessing some of the Sharks on show, Kurt Capewell ran the ball hard and improved as the game went on, young prop Myles Taueli was aggressive in the middle, while Fa’amanu Brown managed some game time at both hooker and in the halves in a continuation in his positive return from injury.
Other the others Cleeland, like his former Ipswich teammate Capewell, seemed to get more confortable as the trial went on and looked dangerous when the game opened up late in the second half and Jacob Gagan got through half a game in his comeback from a torn Achilles.
Out wide Drew had a couple of good moments late in the game, while Jesse Sene-Lefao and Junior Roqica worked hard in the middle of the field.
Matt McIlwrick and Mitch Brown didn’t see much second half action in an indication they might be used in the NRL trial to follow.
NEWTOWN JETS 12
Jason Schirnack, Jordan Drew, Arana Taumata tries
WESTS TIGERS 18