The Newtown Jets have beaten the third-placed St George Illawarra Dragons at Henson Park to continue their charge towards a Canterbury Cup finals berth.
See the following match report, courtesy of NSWRL.com.au
By Blake Edwards
The Newtown Jets have retained the Tom Kirk Cup after they held out a fast finishing St George Illawarra Dragons outfit to record a 24-18 victory at Henson Park on Saturday.
The hosts were bolstered by the inclusion of young prospect Blayke Brailey, and were eager to impress as they were coming off a big Round 15 loss to the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Dragons wanted to keep their momentum going, albeit with an under strength team, after they stole victory from the Penrith Panthers at the death in a tight tussle in Wollongong.
It was Newtown who started in fast fashion, troubling the scorers after just a few minutes had elapsed.
Fullback Will Kennedy strolled through the Dragons defence from 10 metres out to plant it over, before Daniel Vasquez barged over moments later to give the Jets an early 12-0 lead.
St George Illawarra returned serve when a neat cut-out pass from Tristan Sailor hit flanker Jordan Pereria on the fly, who finished it off nicely diving over in the corner. Unfortunately, Pereira was stretched off immediately after his four-pointer with what appeared to be a neck related injury.
Rubbing salt into the Dragons’ wound, the Bluebags responded swiftly with a try to Tyla Tamou who finished off a nice backline movement to extend his sides lead to 16-4.
A brilliant 40/20 kick by Jets’ skipper Jack Williams gifted the hosts great field position, where they looked to score off the first play spreading it wide to winger Sione Kota, who was ultimately denied when he was deemed out touch-in-goal by the Touch Judge before grounding the ball.
Williams found himself in the action seconds later, when he grubbered for himself metres out from the line before winning the race to the steeden and planting it down to give the Jets a 20-4 lead with fifteen remaining before the break.
A fantastic late half try to Latrell Shcaumekel kept the momentum running with the Jets as they headed into the sheds with a 24-4 lead.
The Dragons were forced to play the remainder of the game with just the 16 men, after Pereria left Henson Park during the halftime break in the back of an ambulance, with Dragons medical staff confirming the back had suffered an injury to his right shoulder, along with a hefty concussion, reassuringly, the trip to the hospital is precautionary.
It was the red and whites other winger Jason Gillard who got the ball rolling in the second stanza, scoring a brilliant try out wide, looking to swing the momentum back in his sides favour, who trailed 24-8.
The contest entered a phase were the game flowed from end to end, though disappointingly, neither side was able to turn opportunities into points. The visitors looked the better footy side during this period, before a try to Sailor broke the stoush giving his side an opportunity to mount a comeback, trailing 24-14 with fifteen minutes left on the clock.
Steven Marsters contintued his try-scoring form when he barged over for a four-pointer, a rushed kick by Sailor was missed, meaning the Jets held onto a converted try lead 24-18 heading into the final five minutes. Despite a frantic final passage of play, the Marsters try would be the final scoring play of the game, with the Jets holding on to secure a narrow 24-18 victory.
Jack Williams, Tyler Tamou, Daniel Vasquez, Will Kennedy, Latrell Schaumekel tries, Sione Katoa 2 goals