It was a tough day at the office for the Jets last Saturday when beaten 60-6 by the Panthers with the depth of the Newtown team again set to be tested when they take on the Illawarra Cutters with a number of their regulars missing.
Things went from bad to worse for the Jets last weekend when four players, Matt McIlwrick, Josh Cleeland, Kurt Capewell and Kenny Niko left the field injured and did not return, after they began on the back foot when Fa’amanu Brown was withdrawn to be 18th man for the Sharks, with the 13- remaining players put the sword by a red-hot Penrith outfit.
After two convincing wins of their own, by 54-6 over Wentworthville and 38-6 against the New Zealand Warriors, the Panthers loss was a reality check as the Int4rust Super Premiership enters the second half of its season.
As for the injured quartet, McIlwrick has been passed fit to play, however Cleeland, Capewell and Niko haven’t been named and are likely to miss the Cutters match.
On a positive note, Jordan Drew makes a comeback to the field after two games out with shoulder and knee injuries.
The Jets v Cutters match on Friday night is a catch-up game after their round 13 clash was postponed due to poor weather and the state of the ground.
Adding more interest to the match, the Cutters leap-frogged the Jets with their win and the Newtown loss last week, with the winner of this match to claim third on the ladder with a victory.
Kick-off is at 7.00pm at Henson Park, with the Newtown team listed below.
Also following a brief match report from the Jets round 16 match against the Panthers, provided courtesy of Newtown Jets media.
ISP TEAM LIST – Round 13
Jets v Cutters
Friday, July 1
Kick-off – 7.00pm
1. Mitch Brown (c)
2. Travis Robinson
3. Jordan Drew
4. Matt Evans
5. Corin Smith
6. Jaline Graham
7. Fa'amanu Brown
8. Harrison Muller
9. Matt McIlwrick
10. Jesse Sene-Lefao
11. Malakai Houma
12. Anthony Moraitis
13. Kurt Kara
14. Jason Schirnack
15. Brent Anderson
16. Leon Tupuola
17. Saulala Houma
21. Tarek Elmasri
By Newtown Jets Media
Jets learn all about Rugby League’s fickle fortunes.
On the previous Saturday the Newtown Jets had scored a runaway win at home against the then-Intrust Super Premiership leaders, the New Zealand Warriors. Last Saturday at St Marys Stadium the Jets came up against the in-form and very strong Penrith Panthers team and were blown away 60-6.
The Jets went into this 16th round match with a less than full-strength team sheet. A succession on injuries to several key players during the game left Newtown with no replacements on their interchange bench for the last fifteen minutes. This was the Panthers fifth win in a row and the Mountain Men have most assuredly thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the ISP NSW clubs as to who is on the rise in premiership aspirations. The presence in Penrith’s ranks of an NRL veteran like Jamie Soward, with his on-field organisational skills, astute kicking in general play as well as his ten successful conversions, was anything but a negative factor.
This match was still a contest up until the 28th minute of the first half. Penrith led 12-6 and Newtown was in a strong attacking position and looking dangerous. The Jets ball movement broke down and the Panthers then scored a converted try in the next set. To add to Newtown’s problems, their highly effective hooker and dummy-half Matt McIlwrick left the field with an eye injury and was finished for the day. Penrith went on to add two more converted tries before halftime and went in at the break with a 30-6 lead.
Any Newtown supporters who recalled the Jets hauling in a 30-6 points deficit against Penrith two years previously at Allianz Stadium found that history rarely repeats itself. A succession of injuries further depleted Newtown’s ranks and the Panthers added a total of five more tries in the second half. Penrith had close to seventy per cent of possession in the first half and no doubt defensive fatigue as well as the disruption caused by injuries added to Newtown’s woes.
Newtown clearly missed the play-making services of slick halfback Fa’amanu Brown, who was on NRL duties with the Cronulla Sharks. This of course is all part of the partnership arrangements between NRL and ISP clubs, and there are likely to be critical games every season where an ISP club’s depth in playing strength is bound to be tested.
The Jets undertake an interesting change in routine this Friday. In order to accommodate the rescheduling requirements of their postponed 13 round match, Newtown will play the Illawarra Cutters on Friday night, 1st July at Henson Park with the kick-off timed for 7.00pm.
Newtown’s last Friday night competition match at Henson Park was a semi-final ten years ago. The Illawarra Cutters are another ISP NSW club with impressive recent form, and they will travel to Henson Park on Friday night on the back of four consecutive wins. The Cutters are now in third place on the competition table and the Jets are one point behind them in fourth position.