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The annual away match against the Windsor Wolves is always one of the more formidable assignments on the NSW Cup calendar, and so it proved for the Newtown Jets last Saturday night. The Jets were well pleased to take the two competition points with their 28-24 win against tough and uncompromising opponents.
The slippery ground conditions and the less than perfect lighting ensured that this was going to be a grinding, slogging contest with most of the action centred in the forwards. Newtown had the start they wanted through tries to prop Khalid Deeb in the 8th minute and winger Troy Savage in the 12th, with centre Tu'u Maori's conversions giving the Jets a 12-0 lead. The Wolves hit back and drew level by the 25th minute, but Newtown reclaimed the lead with a try to fullback Luke Towers two minutes before halftime.
The Wolves appeared to have the game at their mercy when they scored twice from high kicks to lead 24-16 fifteen minutes into the second half. Jets coach Greg Matterson said after the game that "plenty of teams might have turned it up at that stage, given the unfavourable playing conditions and against such rugged opposition, but the adversity seemed to bring out the best in our blokes." Newtown's man of the match and former Penrith hooker Keith Peters scored at the 20th minute mark and Maori's conversion had Newtown trailing 24-22. The Jets looked the better team when in possession but this was a game that was going to go right to the wire. Weather-induced fundamental errors looked likely to bring the Jets undone, but the game-breaker came when second-rower Tom Symonds won the race to touch down a well-weighted kick from five-eighth Johnathon Ford into Windsor's in-goal. Tu'u Maori's fourth conversion gave Newtown a 28-24 lead with nine minutes to play. Predictably the game ended on a thrilling note, after the Jets turned the ball over midfield in the 38th minute and allowed the Wolves one last set of possession. Winger Troy Savage defused the dangerous situation when he fielded a high kick into his corner in the last thirty seconds.
Newtown 's best forwards on the night were hooker Keith Peters, backrower Tom Symonds and front-rowers Khalid Deeb, Martin Kennedy and Ryan Verlinden. Kennedy made valuable metres when they were most needed in the fiercely-contested second half. All the backs contributed well in a match that was heavily forwards-oriented.
The third-placed Newtown Jets return to Henson Park next Saturday (5th June) for a showdown with the competition leaders, the Balmain Tigers. This local derby will again be a contest for the MUA Solidarity Cup, a trophy that is played for by the Newtown and Balmain clubs in competition games at Henson Park. The main game kicks off at 3.00pm, with the curtain-raiser being a NSW Cup fixture between Cronulla-Sutherland and the Windsor Wolves at 1.00pm.
NSWRL NSW Cup - Round 12
Saturday, 29th May 2010
Windsor Sports Complex
Windsor v Newtown
Newtown Jets 28:
Khalid Deeb, Troy Savage, Luke Towers, Keith Peters, Tom Symonds tries;
Tu'u Maori 4 goals
Windsor Wolves 24:
Ali Beale, Zoran Watene, Josh Bateman, Wade Graham tries;
Ali Beale 4 goals.
Newtown led 16-12.
Newtown's team was:
1 - Luke Towers
3 - Kane Linnett, 5 - Troy Savage
22 - Sonny Tuigamala, 4 - Tu'u Maori
6 - Johnathon Ford, 15 - Russell Aitken
13 - Jason Baitieri
11 - Tommy Symonds, 12 - Brad Takairangi
14 - Aiden Guerra, 10 - Khalid Deeb
9 - Keith Peters.
2 - Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 7 - Liam Foran
8 - Martin Kennedy, 19 - Jason Wells
23 - James Koloamatangi.