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Jets stun competition front-runners in thrilling draw

By Mitchell Roese (NSWRL)

Newtown Jets and Canberra Raiders shared the points on Saturday afternoon at Henson Park in a thrilling 28-all draw that came down to the final minutes.

Newtown hit the front early before Canberra showed their might, running in five unanswered tries. Resilience saw the hosts recover the deficit before narrowly missing the chance to steal victory on the siren in round four.

Kade Dykes opened the scores in the second minute in his return to grade football, as he supported a blitzing run from fullback Liam Ison through the middle.

Newtown then stretched their lead in the ninth minute. Centre Chris Vea'ila burst through untouched on the right edge, finding his winger Samuel Stonestreet to beat out Raiders fullback Chevy Stewart for the line.

The hosts made it three tries within the first 20 minutes as Niwhai Puru's dummy held Canberra's jagged goal line defence up just enough to open space for Addison Demetriou to scream past and score.

Newtown's defence eventually broke in the 23rd minute, as Canberra's Simi Sasagi fended off both Vea'ila and Ison and raced away to put his side on the board.

After a sluggish start, the competition front runners brought their deficit to 16-12 heading into the sheds, as a well-weighted grubber kick from Zac Woolford sat up right on the dead ball line for Trey Mooney to plant it down.

It was a front-rower's dream to start the second half with Canberra's middle forwards running free.

Hohepu Puru crossed seven minutes out from the half to put the visitors in the lead, before another dangerous gallop from Mooney put the opposition on the back-foot, leading to Kaeo Weekes finding the line in the ensuing tackle.

Canberra converted a failed short drop-out into more points, as winger Jed Stuart gathered the uncontested ball before he carried two defenders over the line and push the advantage to 10 points.

Keeping their opposition to just a penalty goal while down a man, the Jets crawled their way back with back-to-back tries from Vea'ila and Jackson Ferris to draw level. Puru was ice cold as he converted both from the sideline, setting up a grandstand finish.

In the end neither side could hit the front in the dying stages as Puru's field goal as the siren rang was waved wide, but nonetheless a hard-fought 28-all draw for both sides.

Talking Points

Only conceding two points being a man down was immense for Newtown securing a point. Canberra had been all over them previously but to hold them out and even score a try themselves was a huge effort.

Canberra's Trey Mooney was unstoppable through the middle. The forward scored a try right on half-time while he wreaked havoc through the opposition's middle defence with some large metres gained.

Jets five-eighth Kade Dykes was dangerous in his return to the field after a year-long hiatus from an ACL injury. The youngster scored the opening try and assisted their second.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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