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The Newtown Jets turned around a 22-12 halftime deficit to defeat Wentworthville 34-26 in the sixth round NSW Cup match played at Ringrose Park yesterday. The Jets had imploded just prior to halftime, leaking three tries within a horror seven minutes period after having led 12-6 late in the first half.
Newtown's first half misfortunes were largely of their own making, with a number of possession turnovers and mishaps that gave Wentworthville great field position. The Jets had conceded an early try but took the lead midway through the first half through well-crafted tries to fullback Luke Towers and second-rower Ray Moujalli. Wenty took full advantage of the opportunities gifted to them late in the first half, scoring three tries in quick succession that left Newtown's travelling supporters in despair.
The second half statistics provide ample evidence of Newtown's turnaround in a number of key performance indicators. The Jets' completion rate improved and they dominated possession in the second half, their error rate was halved and most of all, there were productive finishes to most of Newtown's sets. The Jets' powerhouse brigade of Charlie Leaeno, Mose Masoe and Khalid Deeb gained a lot of midfield metres and pounded the Wenty defence like heavy artillery. They received strong support from hooker Keith Peters and backrowers Ray Moujalli and Jason Baitieri. Newtown's best backs were halves Johnathon Ford and Liam Foran, with centre Kane Linnett and Luke Towers contributing their customary tries.
The Newtown coaching staff could well regard the second half as the Jets' best forty minutes of football this season, but they would be even happier to see two good halves of Rugby League strung together in upcoming weeks. Some of Newtown's favourite sons, the iconic 1960's centre pairing of Brian "Chicka" Moore and Bobby Keyes and 1980's international fullback Phil Sigsworth, were on hand to see this inspiring come-from-behind victory.
The Jets travel to nearby Leichhardt Oval next Saturday (24th April) for another inner-western local derby with the Balmain Tigers. This second leg of the 2010 Ryan-Pringle Shield series gets underway at 3.00pm, and is a much anticipated rematch between the old rivals following the Tigers' dramatic 31-30 win in the competition's opening round.
Luke Towers 2 (13th and 58th minutes)
Ray Moujalli (25th minute)
Sonny Tuigamala (46th minute)
Tu'u Maori (55th minute)
Kane Linnett (66th minute)
Chris Tuatara-Morrison 5 goals
5 tries, 3 goals.
Half-Time: Wentworthville led 22-12.