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Dominant Knights show the Jets no quarter.
The Newcastle Knights proved that they will be a major force in this year's VB NSW Cup competition with their emphatic 42-24 win against the Newtown Jets at Toronto last Saturday. This was the first time the two clubs had met since 2007, as the Knights opted to compete under different entities in the past four seasons. Saturday's loss was a salutary lesson for the young Jets who had performed impressively in the opening round. The Knights' display confirmed that the VB NSW Cup is going to be a very tough competition this year.
The Knights showed their hand early in the first half, racing away to a 12-0 lead after ten minutes. Newtown's errors at their own end of the field gave the Knights possession and territory. The Jets responded in the 24th minute after they gained some worthwhile possession in Newcastle's quarter, with second-rower Brad Takairangi claiming one of his trademark tries. Newtown kept the pressure on the Knights but lost a vital try-scoring opportunity when centre Adam Henry was ruled to have lost the ball over the Knights' try-line. Newcastle extended their lead with another converted try but the Jets stayed in contention when front-rower Ryan Verlinden crashed over for a try three minutes before half-time.
With the Jets trailing 18-10 at the break, coach Greg Matterson urged his players to improve their discipline and take the game up to the Knights in their half. The Knights second-phase play had to be shut down and every kick needed to be effective. The Jets' best intentions were blown away in the game's third quarter, as the Knights piled on three converted tries to extend their lead to 36-10.
To illustrate the Knights' dominance in this period - when Jets winger Daniel Tupou scored in the 66th minute, it was the only the second time in the second half that Newtown had been at the Knights' end. The impressive Adam Henry also scored for Newtown but the Knights added one more converted try five minutes from fulltime. Virtually on the full-time siren Brad Takairangi kicked ahead for centre Peni Tagive to complete Newtown's scoring.
Coach Matterson acknowledged after the game that the Jets had been well beaten by a well-drilled, physically strong side and that his young players would need to learn from this setback. The Knights were quite clearly a class above Newtown's opposition from the previous weekend and were a benchmark for what was required for success in this grade. For the Jets there had been determined individual performances from forwards Ahmad Ellaz, Jack Bosden, Kurt Kara and Glenn Dumbrell and from Adam Henry and Alofa Alofa in the backs.
The Jets move on to confront the competition leaders Cronulla-Sutherland in another away match, to be played on Saturday, 17th March at Toyota Park. This St Patrick's Day third round VB NSW Cup clash gets underway at 3.00pm.