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The Sydney Airport Jets are now in second position on the NSWRL VB Premier League competition table, following their 28-18 win over the Bulldogs at Henson Park on Saturday. There was plenty of ?niggle? in this match, and with three players on report Newtown officials and coaching staff will be monitoring events at the judiciary closely.
The Jets had to defend their own line for lengthy periods of the first half and did well to keep the Bulldogs at bay. Newtown had scored two early tries and started confidently in this local derby. The Bulldogs gained plenty of possession as Newtown?s completion rate deteriorated and the match was still very much in the balance at half-time.
The game was still evenly poised with Newtown leading by 16-6 midway through the second half, but two quick converted tries gave the Jets a 28-6 lead and a points buffer that wasn?t likely to be overhauled. Coach Colin Murphy was satisfied with the win, and wryly noted it was probably the first time Newtown had beaten the Bulldogs twice in one season for many years. Murphy also remarked that while some supporters might have looked on this match as a bit of a dour contest, the Bulldogs and their rugged, ?in your face? style were never going to be easy to put away.
There were several outstanding performances by the big Jets forwards, with Jon Green taking out the man of the match award. Sam Isemonger, Kevin Kingston, James Stosic, Keith Galloway and Cameron Ciraldo all worked hard, and Clifford Manua scored a remarkably determined (and critical) try twenty minutes from full-time. Russell Aitken, David Hall and Vince Mellars had strong games in the backs, with winger John Sinisa turning in an outstanding defensive display. Utility player Geoff Johnson was deployed at different stages of the game in both the full-back and hooker positions, surely a rarity in the Rugby League game.
Newtown?s Jim Beam Cup team travelled to Windsor on Friday evening and put it right to the competition leaders, before going down by 28-14. The Jets started slowly and trailed 22-0 before fighting back to 22-14. Hard-working prop David Buckley was sent off midway through the match and injuries left the team short-handed in the latter stages of the game. Coach Greg Matterson was pleased with his players? overall effort despite the unfortunate scheduling of the game.
The Sydney Airport Jets travel to Canberra next Sunday (May 15th) for the VB Premier League match of the round with the Raiders at Canberra Stadium. This match kicks off at 1.10pm, and is the curtain raiser to the top of the table Sharks-Raiders NRL clash, a match likely to draw in excess of 20,000 fans. Newtown has the bye next weekend in the Jim Beam Cup competition.