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This year's Newtown Jets NSW Cup team is proving to be a model of inconsistency. After beating the competition leaders Canterbury-Bankstown on the 1st of May, the Jets travelled to Wyong last Saturday and were thrashed 48-26 by the NSW Cup's cellar-dwellers, the Central Coast Centurions. The Centurions are the Newcastle Knights reserve team and they scored most of their nine tries from breaks made down the left and right edges of Newtown's defence.
The Jets had led by 18-12 after 35 minutes but conceded two tries in as many minutes just prior to halftime, going in at the break 22-18 in arrears.The result was still in the balance with Newtown trailing 30-26 just ten minutes from fulltime, but the Centurions laid on a barrage of three converted tries to claim their second win of the season by a most convincing margin.
Newtown had fielded a considerably changed team from the previous weekend, with Sydney Roosters players Martin Kennedy, Tom Symonds and Steve Naughton returning after layoffs through injury, while Johnathon Ford and Russell Aitken formed a new combination in the halves. The Jets' completion rate for the match had been in excess of 80%, usually an indicator of a team with sufficient possession to take charge of a game. The Centurions found and exploited defensive lapses on either edge of Newtown's defence with maximum impact, scoring several long distance tries in the process.
Coach Greg Matterson pinpointed his side's backline defensive problems, adding that the Jets needed to work harder and to communicate better as a team. He was adamant that the Jets were in the right frame of mind prior to kick-off and that they had not treated the road-trip as two points there for the taking. Matterson nominated back-rower Tinirau Arona as being the Jets' standout player, and he also singled out Tom Symonds and Luke Towers for praise. The quicksilver Towers is proving to be one of the season's finds with his dashing runs from fullback.
The Newtown Jets have announced the release of big front-rower Charlie Leaeno to take up a full-time playing contract with the English Super League club Wakefield Trinity, and the club wishes Charlie and his family all the best for the future. The Jets will be back at Henson Park next Saturday (15th May) for a 10th round NSW Cup match against Cronulla-Sutherland, timed to start at 3.00pm.
Central Coast Centurions 48:
Simon Williams 2,
Joel Edwards tries;
Adrian Davis 3,
George Ndaira 2 goals,
Jimmy Fawcett 1 goal
Newtown Jets 26:
Luke Towers 2,
Chris Tuatara-Morrison tries;
Chris Tuatara-Morrison 3 goals.
Central Coast Centurions led 22-18.