Jets hang on in the wet against Magpies

The Newtown Jets had to work doubly hard for their 18-16 win against Western Suburbs in the second round NSW Cup match played at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.

The misty rain and slippery playing surface led to both teams recording relatively low completion rates, especially in the tightly-contested second half. The Jets led 10-4 at halftime after having had very little ball in the first twenty minutes of the game. Wests used tactics that were better suited to the difficult playing circumstances and they did their best to nullify Newtown's more dangerous attacking players. It wasn't the best afternoon for long cut-out passes, chip kicks or for making sorties dangerously close to the sideline.

Newtown's in-form halfback Mark Kheirallah was closely marked by his opponents but still set up both of his team's first half tries with cleverly-placed kicks into the Magpies' in-goal zone. The Jets were forced to defend strongly in the first half, especially during the first quarter when Wests dominated possession and field position. The Jets extended their lead to 14-4 in the 50th minute but were never able to put the result beyond doubt.

Wests fought back to trail by 18-16 with ten minutes left to play, although a number of possession turnovers by the Magpies late in the second half probably gave the Jets somewhat of a reprieve. Newtown front-rower Daniel Conn turned on a tremendous display, and led the way for his team-mates by topping the tackle count and in the metres gained by any of the Newtown forwards. Hooker Kurt Kara proved again what a quality signing he has been with plenty of tackling as well as hard graft in possession.

Team captain Khalid Deeb made some massive hits on his opponents when most needed and rugged centre Willie Mataka made a lot of ground with the ball. Coach Greg Matterson was pleased with the team's defensive effort and their willingness to slog it out for a valuable away win in tough playing conditions.

The Jets return to Henson Park this Saturday (March 26th) for their first appearance at home in this season's NSW Cup competition. Their opponents are one of the form teams in this year's NSW cup, the Central Coast Centurions, who are the Newcastle Knights official reserve grade team. This match promises to be a high speed, free flowing encounter which is timed to kick off at 3.00pm this Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 19th March 2011
NSWRL NSW Cup - Round 2
Campbelltown Stadium
Western Suburbs v Newtown
Kick-Off Time: 3.00pm

Newtown 18: Willie Mataka, Rhys Pritchard, Byron Fruean, Sione Taka tries; Mark Kheirallah 1 goal
Western Suburbs 16: Josh Davis, David Harris, Ryan Millard tries; Rhys Lenarduzzi 2 goals
Half-Time:Newtown led 10-4.
Referee: Michael Laverty
Touch Judges: John Woods and Peter Sciberras
Weather: Light rain falling, cool.
Playing surface: Well grassed but slippery.

This match was played at Campbelltown Stadium.
Newtown's team was: Rhys Pritchard, Justin Carney, Steve Naughton, Willie Mataka, Francis Vaiotu, Johnathon Ford, Mark Kheirallah, Ahmad Ellaz, Brad Takairangi, Brad Barrett, Daniel Conn, Khalid Deeb (Capt.), Kurt Kara
Bench: Byron Fruean, James Koloamatangi, Chris Enahoro, Sione Taka