Jets down but not out
The Newtown Jets have failed to get the better of Intrust Super Premiership minor premiers Mounties, setting up a sudden-death finals match next weekend.
The Jets were always chasing the Mounties team and despite a couple of enterprising moments were well beaten by 30-12 in the week one finals clash.
Newtown will now await results from the other ISP Finals matches this weekend to determine their opponents next week.
Following is a NSWRL.com.au match report.
Mounties fly past Jets
by Matt Buxton
Mounties came out on top of Newtown in a high-energy match, that has seen them earn not just a week off, but a spot in the Preliminary Finals.
Jeff Lima showed all of his experience in the match, having the game of his life with some incredible charges mixed with a never-before-seen ball playing ability to set up Shaun Fensom for a brilliant try.
Mounties were missing Sam Williams, but that did not seem to bother them as they ran in five tries to down the Jets 30 points to 12.
Both sides displayed plenty of energy in the opening stages of the match, but none more so than the in-form Jarrad Kennedy, who broke open the Newtown left-edge defence just six minutes into the game, and set up a try for the lingering Zac Santo to open Mounties’ account under the posts.
The Jets spent the next period of the game on the attack, but Mounties defence withstood the pressure, particularly Lima, who put a monster-shot on Junior Roqica.
The Newtown faithful, as expected, travelled out west to see their side play, and they were elated at the thought Saulala Houma had scored, however it was ruled that Jaline Graham did an obstruction in the lead-up.
Two NRL veterans linked up for a simply incredible try for Mounties shortly afterwards. Lima gave an incredible Benji Marshall-like short-ball to Fensom, who drew the fullback and offloaded to Scott Sorenson – who was supporting on his outside – to complete a brilliant try.
Sam Duggan sprayed a bomb off the side of his boot, however it paid off, as Travis Robinson could not handle it thanks to the pressure of Kato Ottio.
Mounties capitalised on the field position, as Lima took it to the line and passed to start a left-to-right shift, that was completed in the right corner by none other than Ottio, who touched down for the 29th time this season.
In what is a huge blow for Mounties, Ottio was vigorously bumped off the ball, injured is right leg in the process, and was consequently assisted from the field.
Someone had to stand up for Newtown, and that man was Matt McIlwrick, who did it all himself from dummy half, powering his way over the line to reduce the deficit to 16-6.
The score remained at half-time, but Mounties posted immediate points after the break, earning a penalty goal just two minutes in.
Fensom was at his brilliant best all game, and his ability to attract multiple defenders sucked in the Jets defence once again while on the attack, and a perfect offload allowed Santo to stroll over, and extend their lead to 24-6.
The play of the day came from Santo when Travis Robinson was destined to score in the left corner, but the classy fullback wrapped up the ball, turned him on his back and threw him out of play. It was an unbelievable piece of defence and show of determination, and his teammates certainly got around him.
Brenko Lee wrapped up the match with 16 minutes to go, as he burst through the defence inside his own half, and ran away to score a 65-metre try with seemingly no chase.
Fa’amanu Brown is a constant threat, and showed his class to step through the middle of Mounties to skip away under the posts.
It was a tough game, but Mounties will get a week off and have qualified for the Preliminary Finals, while Newtown will play for their season next week.