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In what was a heartbreaking afternoon for Newtown players and supporters, the Jets lost both their First Division and Metropolitan Cup Rugby League matches in the final minutes of play at Henson Park on Saturday.
Newtown turned in their best First Division performance for the season in leading the unbeaten Manly-Warringah by 34-22 late in the game, only to see the Sea Eagles storm home by 40-34. The scores had been locked up 12-all at half time, with the Jets having missed scoring chances that could have given them a comfortable lead. Manly then appeared to have the game in control at 22-12, but the Jets laid on their best attacking play of this season with four top class tries, prior to the Sea Eagles late surge.
Best for the Jets were Wes Patten (Man of the Match and three tries), Taffy Nicolas, John Wilson, Dave Lambert and Simon Crotty in the backs, with Chris Williams, Ben Lucas, Luke Wardle, Rob Simpson and Tere Glassie the pick of the forwards.
Coach Col Murphy was upbeat in his post-match assessment, despite the bitter disappointment of having the season's first win snatched away in the dying minutes. Murphy told his players:"Today's negatives can be turned into tomorrow's positives, if you've got the mental toughness. Until every Newtown player in both grades ups their personal ante, they'll never know what they really can achieve this year." He added that there were a lot of good things to be taken away from this game, especially in terms of what this side is capable of for the remainder of the season.
Darryl Neville's Metro Cup youngsters continue to impress, with only inexperience in critical moments and some ropey refereeing decisions denying them an upset victory over Guildford, the premiership favourites. The Jets went down 28-24, with lightweight prop Trent Dally putting in another big-hearted performance. Newtown's gutsy pack stood up to a fearful pounding from their outsize opponents, while the Jets backs showed their try scoring capabilities.
Newtown play away in First Division to the Central Coast Bears at North Power Stadium on Friday night, with the Jets Metro Cup squad playing away to Wentworthville. Call the new Jets Information Line on 1300 36 36 90 for further match details and exact game times.