Match report: Newtown v. Balmain

JETS STITCH UP THE TIGERS, BUT THERE'S ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. Newtown convincingly defeated the Balmain Tigers by 36-14 in the NSWRL First Division match played at Henson Park on Saturday - but it was far from being a flawless performance by the Jets. Coach Colin Murphy said after the match that if his side could shake off a bad run of injuries, suspensions and brain explosions, they had several more wins in them for this season. Despite the size of the Jets' winning margin, they had to win this game the hard way, and looked somewhat shaky defending a 24-14 lead with less than twenty minutes left to fulltime. Newtown's poor completion rate of twelve out of twenty one sets of possession had kept the Tigers in the hunt well into the second half, but three late tries to the Jets put the result beyond doubt. Some of Newtown's tries were among their best this season, featuring slick handling, intelligent support play and determined running. Rugged second rower Robbie Simpson dashed away for an eighty metre effort after he had charged down a Balmain kick. Simpson, who scored a try for the London Broncos in the 1999 Wembley Challenge Cup Final, admitted afterwards it had been the longest run of his footballing career. Newtown's try scorers were Ben Tickle, Tarei McKenzie, Simpson, Dave Lambert, Garth Wood and Jon Wilson, with Troy Barnes converting five of the tries and kicking one penalty goal. Garth Wood was one of the Jets' best, with a very busy fullback display. Evergreen Peter Baumgart made an inspired return from injury with great yardage and plenty of off-loads. Simpson's performance was his personal best since joining Newtown, and Aaron Trinder showed his best form for several weeks. Tere Glassie and Jason Buchanan also worked well in the forwards. Big Dave Lambert and Ben Tickle have forged a strong running combination in the centres. Newtown's Metro Cup team might have eventually lost 36-12 to Guildford at McCredie Park on Saturday, but they competed strongly for most of the game. Ten minute "black spots" in both halves cost the Jets dearly, but Newtown officials and supporters can be very proud of the fighting qualities consistently shown by this young team. Mark Fakahua and Ben Gardiner scored Newtown's tries on Saturday evening, with Simon Mason kicking two goals. This Saturday , June 29, at Henson Park features a Special Tribute Day to three Bluebag greats of the 1950's - Gordon "Punchy" Clifford, Bobby Whitton and Dick Poole. This will be a day of genuine pride for Australia's oldest Rugby League club, and fans are urged to turn out in force to pay homage to this champion trio. In the First Division, Newtown take on the Cronulla Sharks at 3.00 pm, and the young Metro Cup goers meet up with Wentworthville at 1.15 pm. For all Newtown RLFC news and information, call the Jetline on 1300 36 36 90.