Jets soar into GF qualifier
The Newtown Jets moved to within one game of the Intrust Super Premiership Grand Final with a 22-18 win over the New Zealand Warriors.
The teams went to half time locked at 8-all but the Jets proved too committed and too strong in the second 40 minutes, with the win setting up a clash with the Illawarra Cutters next weekend.
The match began with the Warriors on the front foot, an early try from hooker Nathaniel Roache seeing them grab a 4-0 lead after five minutes.
The Jets however remained positive and after a couple of repeat sets on their opponents line managed to open their account when Josh Cleeland sliced through, the stocky five eighth planting the ball down for his teams first points.
Fa’amanu Brown was off-line with his kick at goal making it 4-all 15 minutes into the match.
With both teams displaying great determination further points were hard to come by but it was the Jets who would be next to score, winger Corin Smith going over wide out to put his team in front some 10 minutes out from the half time break.
The Jets continued to pressure their opponents but just when the teams looked like going to half time with Newtown in front, a bouncing kick and some broken field play, followed by a clever cross field kick, resulted in Herare Wells going over and leveling the score at 4-points apiece.
Coming back out onto Pepper Stadium with plenty of enthusiasm after what would have been a stirring half time address from coach Greg Matterson, the Jets began the second half strongly and they were rewarded for their efforts, Cleeland cutting through and finding Matt McIlwrick in support, with the hooker and captain sprinting 10 metres to score next to the posts.
Brown kicked the simple conversion, giving his team a 14-8 advantage after five minutes of the second stanza.
With plenty to play for neither side gave an inch in the next 15 minutes of the match but the Jets would go a long way towards cementing their place in a grand final qualifying game with their fourth try of the afternoon.
On this occasion it was McIlwrick creating for one of his teammates, with his well-timed pass putting Kurt Kara into a gap, the Newtown lock grounding the ball under the uprights for what was his first try of the year.
Brown again added the extras and the Jets appeared home at 20-8 ahead.
That lead was extended by a Brown penalty goal before two late tries for the Warriors made it interesting but their last gasp challenge was too little too late as the Jets held on to win 22-18.
It was a victory built on solid defense and a high completion rate, with the Newtown side worthy winners on the day.
The Jets had a number of standouts on the day, with halves Brown and Cleeland asking plenty of questions of their opposition. McIlwrick playing a classic captains knock in the middle of the field and Anthony Moraitis solid in both attack and defense on the left hand edge.
Newtown now move on to play the Cutters in one Grand Final qualifier, with Mounties taking on the Wests Tigers for the right to challenge the winner in the competition decider.
The Sharks website will communicate game information for the Jets Grand Final qualifying match.
Matt McIlwrick, Kurt Kara, Corin Smith, Josh Cleeland tries, Fa'amanu Brown 3 goals
NZ WARRIORS 18