By Newtown Jets Media
A case of what might have been for the Jets.
The Newtown Jets played at home at Henson Park for the first time this season, and they just narrowly failed to defeat the second-placed Wyong team. The Jets lost 19-16 to the Sydney Roosters partnership club, after leading 12-0 midway through the first half, and then having trailed 13-12 at half-time. The late withdrawal of giant forwards Tony Williams and Sam Tagataese was a setback for the Jets, which was further compounded by the non-availability of powerhouse prop Saulala Houma.
Newtown controlled the first twenty minutes of the game and scored well-constructed tries through second-rower Jack Williams and fullback Leigh Higgins, with Fa’amanu Brown converting both tries to give Newtown a 12-0 lead. Newtown’s discipline and composure fell away in the second quarter as the Jets’ mistake rate increased. At one point the Jets had turned over possession six times in seven sets and they virtually invited Wyong back into the game. Poor one on one defence allowed Wyong to draw level by way of two converted tries, and a field goal virtually on the siren gave the Central Coast team a 13-12 lead at half-time.
Jets coach Greg Matterson demanded greater commitment in defence and an improvement in ball control from his players in the second half. It was Wyong who struck first after the break with an unconverted try in the north-eastern corner, but it would be fair to say there were grounds for querying the lead-up to this try. Wyong added a penalty in the 60th minute to extend their lead to 19-12.
Much of the second half was a dour, tense struggle as both teams probed to break through the opposition defence, and both sides were guilty of further handling errors. Unproductive end of set options were another negative aspect of Newtown’s game. The Jets took advantage of a Wyong error in their own half and Newtown’s five-eighth Daniel Mortimer, back in action after several week’s absence due to injury, put back-rower Jayden Walker through a gap with a superbly-delivered short pass, and Walker raced thirty metres to score. This try wasn’t converted and Newtown trailed 19-16 with fourteen minutes remaining.
Jets winger Edrick Lee snapped up an intercept and looked set to score what might have been the winning try, but maddeningly he lost possession of the football as he dashed for the tryline. Neither side scored again in the remaining seven minutes as Wyong held on for a 19-16 win.
The Newtown Jets play away to Wentworthville at Ringrose Park next Sunday, 30th April. This 9th round Intrust Super Premiership match is set down for kick-off at 3.00pm.
Jack Williams. Leigh Higgins, Jayden Walker tries, Fa'amanu Brown 2 goals