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The Newtown Jets gained two valuable VB Premier League competition points when they defeated the strong Cronulla-Sutherland team 28-10 at Henson Park on Saturday. Given the extent of selection disruption in the preceding days to the Roosters NRL squad and consequently to the Jets Premier League line-up, it was expected that the youthful Newtown side would struggle to contain the more experienced Sharks.
With Henson Park?s floodlights blazing from virtually the opening minutes of play, the young Jets dug deep to turn in one of their most disciplined and controlled team displays of the season, underpinned by an outstanding defensive effort right across the Newtown team-sheet. The Jets grabbed an early 6-0 lead and withstood a period of extended pressure from the Sharks, during which Newtown winger Aaron Lai cleverly defused two dangerous cross-field kicks. Newtown led 12-6 at the break following what had been a good exhibition of wet weather football from both sides.
The Jets took control of the match with two converted tries in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, although Cronulla stayed in the contest with their second converted try twelve minutes out from full-time. Newtown?s halfback Jeremy Gordon, promoted from the Roosters Jersey Flegg team late in the week, capped a superb VB Premier League debut when he ?ghosted? through the Sharks defenders for the match-sealing try three minutes from the final siren.
Gordon was deservedly voted Newtown?s man of the match and he played with all the poise and execution of a much more experienced player. His kicking in general play put great pressure on the Sharks, his defence was flawless and his goal kicking maintained the high standards seen in this department at Henson Park this season.
On a day when every player contributed to the team?s defensive effort, lock Grant Millington was the best forward and he received strong support from front-rower Danny Williams and second-rowers Adam Schubert and Mark Edmondson. Hooker Luke Gordon once again made a lot of valuable ground from dummy-half. Jeremy Gordon was the standout backline performer, while full-back Aidan Kirk and centres Andrew Le Breton and Sam Perrett were also prominent. Stand-in five-eighth Daniel Dumas had some dicey moments with his handling but compensated for this with some truly punishing hits on Cronulla ball carriers.
There were several eminent Rugby League and sporting personalities in attendance at Henson Park on Saturday. Australian Rugby League Hall of Famers John Raper and Graeme Langlands had presented the Jets players with their jerseys prior to the match, and the two Immortals were then joined in the Jet Set Lounge by former NSW Rugby League President Kevin Humphreys and leading boxing trainer Johnny Lewis.
The Newtown Jets return to Henson Park next Saturday (June 17th) for another meeting with fellow 1908 foundation club Western Suburbs. This VB Premier League match is set down to commence at 3.00pm. In the Jim Beam Cup competition, Newtown travels to Cabramatta where this Saturday evening fixture will kick off at 5.00pm. The Jim Beam Cup match against the Sydney Bulls set down for last Saturday was postponed to a date to be announced.
Up in the central west the Parkes Spacemen were brought undone in their Group 11 local derby with Forbes on Friday night, with the Magpies winning by 30-16.