Three losses, the last an agonising 14-10 defeat at the hands of the Wyong Roos, has the Newtown Jets desperate to re-start their 2016 season when they travel to North Sydney Oval to tackle the Bears.
Injuries and the unavailability of five Sharks who came into the NRL team in place of the five NSW Origin boys meant the Jets were up against it before a ball was kicked, however in a courageous display only one try separated the teams in what would have been an effort to please the Newtown coaching staff.
The Jets enjoyed strong contributions from the three Sharks NYC squad members they were forced to call into the team, while the return of Josh Cleeland, Jordan Drew, Jacob Gagan and Anthony Moraitis after the four were sidelined the week before, also added quality and depth to Newtown line-up.
This week the Jets are set to be further strengthened by the return of the five who played starring roles in the Sharks NRL victory over the Panthers.
Mitch Brown is back at fullback and captain, Fa’amanu Brown slots into the half back role, Matt McIlwrick at hooker and Jesse Sene-Lafao and Kurt Capewell at prop and back row respectively.
Junior Roqica after a couple of games under his belt following a long period out of action due to a foot injury, should also be approaching full fitness again and will provide some impact from the interchange bench.
One of the above mentioned however is likely to get a call up into the Sharks team following a one-match suspension handed down to Andrew Fifita, with Sene-Lafao the most likely candidate.
Sharks NRL coach Shane Flanagan will likely make that call today to allow the players not chosen to concentrate on the Jets clash with the Bears on Sunday.
Currently sitting fifth, the Jets tackle a North Sydney side that is eighth, three points adrift of Newtown in the Intrust Super Premiership ladder.
For the Bears former Sharks NYC players Brad Deitz and Patrice Siolo will come up against their old club, as will ex-Sharks, Warriors, Storm and Queensland Origin outside back Dane Neilsen.
With the season now approaching the business end, the Jets will be keen to string some wins together, starting on Sunday afternoon, to push up into the top four and to give themselves the best chance of making a run at the finals during September.
The Jets v Bears match is scheduled for a 3.00pm kick off at North Sydney Oval on Sunday afternoon.
See the Newtown team list, as named on Tuesday, listed below.
ISP TEAM LIST – Round 19
Jets v Bears
Saturday, July 16
North Sydney Oval
Kick-off – 3.00pm
1 Mitch Brown ©
2 Travis Robinson
3 Jordan Drew
4 Matt Evans
5 Jacob Gagan
6 Josh Cleeland
7 Fa'amanu Brown
8 Harrison Muller
9 Matt McIlwrick
10 Jesse Sene-Lefao
11 Malakai Houma
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Anthony Moraitis
14 Junior Roqica
15 Kurt Kara
16 Kurt Dillon
17 Saulala Houma
Photo - Jacob Gagan - Courtesy Mike Magee