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Jets go close in thrilling second-half fightback.
The Newtown Jets fielded what was probably one of the youngest teams in the club's history when they played the Auckland Vulcans at Mt Smart in Auckland last Saturday.
The youthful Jets looked to be in real trouble when they trailed 22-4 at halftime but they showed admirable fighting spirit when they fought back to trail by 22-18 with fifteen minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the visitors the Vulcans regrouped and managed to defend their four-point margin until fulltime.
Both teams went into this 18th round VB NSW Cup match in desperate circumstances. The Jets were looking to break a three-game losing streak and the Vulcans were striving to get their season back on track.
The Vulcans scored first with a try from a kick into Newtown's in-goal. The Jets responded midway through the first half when centre Adam Henry won the race to a bouncing kick in behind the Vulcans defence.
Newtown had received a run of penalties with the Vulcans incurring the referee's wrath through their holding down in tackles. The Aucklanders looked to have applied a strangle-hold on the game when they piled on three tries in the last twelve minutes of the first half, with their giant ball-playing backrowers creating havoc on the edges.
Newtown's youngsters, including two players on debut from the Roosters Toyota Cup squad, showed courage and maturity as they fought back in the second half. The Vulcans had dominated possession and territory in the first half but the situation was reversed in the second session.
Clever second-rower Brad Takairangi had an outstanding second half, setting up two tries for winger Daniel Tupou in quick succession. It was definitely game on when centre Adam Henry engineered Tupou's third try with one of his trademark out the back flick passes.
When Blake Lazarus converted from the sideline Newtown trailed 22-18 with fifteen minutes left to play. The final stages of the match kept the crowd enthralled but the Vulcans held on to their four-point lead to claim the competition points.
The Jets return to Henson Park next Saturday (14th July) when they play Western Suburbs in a game that will confirm the winner of the Tom Raudonikis Cup for 2012.
The Jets-Magpies match kicks off at 3.00pm, and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and Newcastle Knights meet in a 19th round VB NSW Cup curtain-raiser at 1.00pm.
Next Saturday is the official 2012 Family Day Promotion at Henson Park with special entertainment provided for all the kids.