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The Sydney Airport Jets made one of their worst starts to a VB Premier League match this season, conceding 16 points to South Sydney in the opening seven minutes of this 1908 foundation clubs local derby.
Playing in front of celebrities such as Big Brother?s Tim Brunero and NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt, plus a big reunion day crowd of more than 3,000, the Jets stabilised and with a better share of possession fought back to lead by 24-16 at half-time.
Newtown scored five tries to two in the second half to run out winners by 48-28, the first occasion that Newtown has beaten South Sydney since both clubs have competed together in the NSWRL flagship competition. Despite this win, Newtown remains in fifth position on the VB Premier League competition table, following Manly-Warringah?s 42-20 win over the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday evening.
The excellent attendance at Henson Park on Saturday confirms the growing popularity of this landmark inner-city community event, and the Jets were given a rousing reception as they saluted the crowd at the completion of this last home game for 2005. Newtown certainly gave their loyal home fans value for money this year, winning 10 out of 11 home games at Henson Park this season.
Newtown was best served in the forwards by David Thompson, Sam Isemonger, Cameron Ciraldo, James Stosic and Jon Green. In the backs, Beau Scott (3 tries), Nathan Merritt (2 tries and 6 goals) were the standout performers, while half-back Ryan Dickson deserves commendation for his VB Premier League debut appearance.
The Jets exited the 2005 Jim Beam Cup competition when they were comprehensively beaten by Wentworthville by 58-10 at Windsor on Saturday. The Jets began confidently, but a series of Newtown errors were punished as Wentworthville strode away to a 30-0 half-time lead.
It was a disappointing season?s end for a young team that has made genuine progress during 2005, and coach Greg Matterson deserves full credit for moulding his side into a competitive playing unit, despite the many frustrations that every Rugby League reserve team coach faces.
Newtown?s best forwards on Saturday were the always reliable Rimini Reweti, Kiel Roberts, David Buckley and Lafi Manua. Nathan McMahon and Sean Hudson were Newtown?s best backs. Congratulations to Rimini Reweti, Jardine Bobongie, David Buckley and Ricky Roberts who have been chosen in the Jim Beam Cup representative train-on squad for a tour of New Zealand in October.
In the NSW Women?s Rugby League preliminary final, the Newtown Jetettes traded try for try with the Redfern All Blacks, but the Redfern lasses ran out winners in Saturday?s curtain-raiser at Henson Park.
The Sydney Airport Jets now prepare for Saturday?s VB Premier League semi-final against the Canberra Raiders, to be played at Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan on Saturday, September 10th at 1.30pm. For all inquiries about Newtown RLFC matches or official club merchandise, call 1300 36 36 90 or check out the Newtown RLFC website at www.newtownjets.com
Photo courtesy of Gary Sutherland Photography. Newtown Jets centre Beau Scott breaks away from Lee Hookey?s tackle for one of his three tries in Newtown?s 48-28 win over South Sydney at Henson Park on Saturday.