The Newtown Jets have withstood a spirited North Sydney comeback in registering their first win of the 2019 season with a 32-30 victory on Saturday at Henson Park.
After racing away to a 24-0 lead, the Jets were forced to defend grimly over the final quarter of the contest, however showing determination somewhat missing over the opening four rounds of the season were able to hold on and claim the points.
Forced to play without regulars Aaron Gray, Kyle Flanagan, Bronson Xerri, Braden Uele and injured skipper Anthony Moraitis, the Jets leaned on the likes of Luke Polselli and Brayden Trindall in the halves, Ronaldo Mulitalo and Isaac Lumelume out wide, with the youngsters doing an outstanding job in helping their team across the line.
Lumelume opened Newtown’s account in the second minute, converted by Trindall from wide out, before Polselli scored, Trindall adding the extras, and it was all the Jets over the first 10 minutes of the contest.
Two more tries, to hard-running backrower Siosifa Talakai, the next a second four-pointer to Lumelume in almost an identical position on the field to where he scored his first and with Trindall kicking truly it was 24-0.
From there the Bears responded, two converted tries halving the margin at the break with the Jets going to half time up 24-12.
Polselli crossed for a second of his own seven minutes into the half, the score blowing out to 30-12, but from that point it was all North Sydney, three tries in quick succession, all converted and with still 15 minutes of the match to go it was 30-all and the Henson Park faithful had reason to be nervous.
Edging back in front through a Trindall penalty goal, his sixth successful kick from six attempts, put the home team in front again with 10 minutes to play and from that point, despite a few anxious moments, the Jets were able to hold on and notch a first win for 2019.
With a number players unavailable, the victory was a commendable one against a quality Bears team.
While they still sit on the bottom of the Canterbury Cup ladder after five rounds, the win keeps the Jets within striking distance of the top eight and should give them some confidence ahead of a match against the Penrith Panthers on Sunday.
That game will be played at Henson Park, kicking off at 1.10pm.
Isaac Lumelume 2, Luke Polselli 2, Siosifa Talakai tries, Bradyon Trindall 6 goals
Photos courtesy Mafphotography