The Newtown Jets have kept their finals hopes alive with a gutsy 28-18 win over Penrith on a cold and windy Friday night at Panthers Stadium.
Bolstered by the inclusion of Blayke Brailey, Billy Magoulias and Jayson Bukuya and coming into the game with their finals aspirations on the line, the Jets aimed up defensively and did enough with the ball to get the points in what was an outstanding win against a top four opponent.
The teams traded tries in the early going, the Panthers getting theirs through a strong run from back rower Billy Burns, before Blayke Brailey put in a perfectly weighted kick for Billy Magnolias to score the Jets first.
Both tries were converted and it was 6-all 10 minutes into the match.
From there the Jets went on the front foot and pressed their opponents line and while they were turned back on a number of occasions by the Panthers, eventually the home side cracked, Buluya making a break through the middle of the ruck before running 20-metres to score.
Brayden Trindall was again successful with his kick at goal and it was Newtown 12-6 after 20 minutes of the first half.
The Jets would extend their advantage shortly before the break, Will Kennedy evading a couple of defenders and touching down adjacent to the uprights and with the Trindall conversion it would be a handy 18-6 lead to the Newtown side going to half time.
The Panthers narrowed the margin in the opening minutes of the second period when fullback Charlie Staines crossed to make it 18-10 and with the momentum shifting went back on the attack and camped in Jets territory.
Newtown repelled some eight sets of six in a row with brave defence and it took a kick to break their resolve, a try in the corner to the Penrith side, with the kick at goal unsuccessful, seeing the lead narrow to four, the Jets 18-14 in front with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Having somewhat weathered the storm the Jets worked their way back into some decent field position and at the end of a set of six it was an unlikely kicker in Greg Eastwood who chipped over the top and regathered, found Sorensen in support, with the back rower giving the final pass for Trindall to score.
It was a spectacular effort and one which proved pivotal in a close fought contest.
Trindall’s conversion was on target as the Jets went 24-14 in front with the match heading into the final 15 minutes.
The Panthers threw plenty at the Jets in the closing moments, however two Trindall penalty goals cancelled out a late Frank Winterstein four-pointer as Newtown held on for a crucial win in claiming a valuable two competition points.
Sitting 10th prior to the weekend round, the win keeps the Jets in touch with the top eight with now three rounds left before finals.
Jayson Bukuya, Billy Magoulias, Will Kennedy, Brayden Trindall tries, Brayden Trindall 6 goals
Williams Burns, Charlie Staines, Matheson Johns, Frank Winterstein tries, Jed Cartwright goal