Jets prepare for top of table clash with Tigers
Newtown Jets made hard work of their 38-34 win against the Central Coast
Centurions in the NSW Cup 16th round match played at Henson Park on Saturday.
Newtown led 10-0 midway through the first half but fell behind 18-10 by
halftime, and looked to be in real trouble when they trailed by 24-10 early in
the second half.
centre Tu'u Maori scored in the third minute of play and second-rower Aidan
Guerra crossed in the 20th minute, with another try having been butchered in
between those two. Newtown's play fell away badly in the game's second quarter
as the error tally mounted and the Centurions came back into the game, just as
they had in their 9th round boilover win at Wyong.
Newtown pulled the game out of the fire in the second
half but not with the confidence and style usually associated with one of the
competition's front-running teams. The Jets fought back to lead 28-24 and 34-28,
but only claimed the winning try two minutes from fulltime. The Jets' second
half completion rate of 87% was a big improvement on the first half's 61%, but
there needs to be more all-round consistency and tighter discipline for next
Sunday's showcase encounter with the Balmain Tigers.
coach Greg Matterson frankly acknowledged that his team had made too many errors
and "had pushed the envelope too hard from the inside". There had been some good
individual efforts and line-breaks in scoring the tries that eventually won the
game, but the discipline and tight defence from the previous week against Wests
was missing. Matterson observed that the Centurions, the Newcastle Knights
reserve team, were a young, fast side who played an adventurous brand of
football that Newtown found difficult to cope with.
Tu'u Maori was judged as Newtown's player of the match while forwards Brad
Barrett, Tinirau Arona, Khalid Deeb and Jason Wells all worked hard in defence
and took the contest right up to the Centurions forwards. Backrower Jason
Baitieri gave a game performance while carrying an injury, and halfback Liam
Foran pulled off an amazing try-saving tackle when he held up a Centurions
player over the line in the first half. Roosters regular and Tongan
international Lopini Paea, in his first appearance with Newtown since the 2006
Grand Final, made a splendid midfield break to set up fullback Luke Towers for a
crucial second half try.
Sunday at Henson Park (4th July) will be one of the blockbuster fixtures of the
2010 NSW Cup season. Newtown takes on competition leaders the Balmain Tigers and
should the Jets win, they will leap-frog both Balmain and Canterbury-Bankstown
to become the outright competition leaders after 17 rounds. This will be a great
day for Jets fans to turn up in huge numbers for what should be an inner-city
local derby classic. The match gets underway at the customary
Newtown Jets 38
Tu'u Maori 2, Chris
Tuatara-Morrison 2, Aidan Guerra, Luke Towers, Russell Aitken
Tu'u Maori 5
Central Coast led 18-10.