Jets late try ensures win against Bears

Jets late try ensures win against Bears.

The Newtown Jets won the first leg of the 2011 Frank Hyde Shield series when they defeated North Sydney 34-24, in the 4th round NSW Cup match played at North Sydney Oval last Saturday. The Jets led 16-14 at halftime and only secured this win in the game's 77th minute, through a converted try that extended Newtown's lead into the safety zone of ten points.

North Sydney displayed their attacking strike-power with a long-distance try in the 4th minute, reminding the Newtown players that this Bears outfit had disposed of Western Suburbs by 56-10 at Campbelltown on the previous Saturday. The Jets regrouped and took control of the game for the next twenty minutes, during which three tries were scored by Chris Enahoro, Francis Vaiotu and Phil Graham. Norths in turn fought back and completed a solid second quarter with two tries through some rather suspect Newtown forwards defence.

The two teams traded tries in the second half and the outcome remained very much in the balance, as Newtown held on to a precarious 28-24 lead with ten minutes remaining. Jets halfback Mark Kheirallah had created a masterful try in the 8th minute of the second half through two deftly-placed chip kicks, ending in a try to centre Brett Lane. The former Balmain Tiger scored his second try when he snapped up a loose ball midfield and just managed to hold off his Bears pursuers in the race to the line.

Jets coach Greg Matterson saw some good football in this performance, but expressed concern at the team's continued ability to concede penalties and their vulnerability to long distance tries. He was pleased with the strong display from the Newtown forwards who overall had worked well together as a unit. Matterson nominated team captain Khalid Deeb, Chris Enahoro, Lama Tasi and Kurt Kara as being the best of a well-performed forward pack. Willie Mataka had shown some clever footwork in heavy traffic and produced a superb off-load for Phil Graham's match-sealing try. Halfback Mark Kheirallah emphasised again that his move into the number seven jersey will continue to provide dividends.

Sydney Roosters head coach Brian Smith spoke to the Jets players in the most positive terms after the game. He pointed out that last year's Newtown best player award winner Tinirau Arona was making his NRL debut at the SFS the next day. Smith stressed to the assembled players that promotion to the NRL squad was open to every NSW Cup player, and that hard work and application could bring the same rewards as those attained by Tinirau Arona.

The Jets travel across the Tasman next Friday for what is regarded as one of the tougher away games on the NSW Cup calendar - playing the Auckland Vulcans, the official feeder team to the New Zealand Warriors. The Vulcans are in top form this season and are coming off a comprehensive win against the Windsor Wolves at Windsor last Saturday. The Jets and Vulcans will mix it up at Mt Smart Stadium next Saturday (9th April) at 1.00pm AEST.

NSWRL NSW Cup - Round 4
Saturday, 2nd April 2011
North Sydney Oval
North Sydney v Newtown
Kick-Off: 3.00pm.

Newtown 34:
Phil Graham 2, Brett Lane 2, Chris Enahoro, Francis Vaiotu tries;
Mark Kheirallah 5 goals
North Sydney 24:
Deon Apps 2, Malcolm Webster, Jake Shearer, Curtis Johnston tries;
Taioalo Vai Vai 2 goals.

Half-Time: Newtown led 16-14.

Referee: Henry Perenara
Touch Judges: Scott Shepherd, Richard Daizli
Weather: Cool, overcast, strong southerly breeze throughout the game.
Playing surface: Excellent.

This match was played at North Sydney Oval and was also the first leg of the 2011 Frank Hyde Shield series.

Newtown's team was:

1 - Rhys Pritchard
2 - Sione Taka, 5 - Steve Naughton
3 - Phil Graham, 4 - Francis Vaiotu
6 - Johnathon Ford, 7 - Mark Kheirallah
11 - Willie Mataka
12 - Brad Barrett, 17 - Chris Enahoro
8 - Lama Tasi, 10 - Khalid Deeb (Capt.)
9 - Kurt Kara.

15 - Byron Fruean, 16 - Boyd Strickland
19 - Brett Lane, 21 - Ryan Verlinden.