The Sydney Airport Jets unleashed a powerhouse display in defeating the Penrith-St.Marys Cougars by 64-8, in the VB Premier League match played at the Western Weekender Stadium on Saturday. This was Newtown?s biggest winning margin since entering the NSWRL flagship competition in 2000, and was highlighted by a points-scoring bonanza by Nathan Merritt, who collected a personal haul of forty points, made up of five tries and ten goals. Merritt?s achievement sets a new Newtown club record for the number of points scored by an individual player in one match.
This was a performance threatened by this strong Newtown team for some time, and was primarily powered by the big Jets forward pack. The Jets forwards won the battle of the rucks, consistently made ground in possession and had the Cougars defensive line back-pedalling. Newtown?s forwards dominance allowed their backs to turn on their own best collective display of the season.
In the forwards David Thompson and Clifford Manua had outstanding games, with Thompson showing all the guile and experience from his long NRL career. They in turn received strong support from Keith Galloway, James Stosic and Kevin Kingston, with Daniel Dumas delivering some ferocious hits in defence.
In the backline, Russell Aitken, Vince Mellars and Beau Scott had their own best games of the season. What can be said of the mercurial Nathan Merritt ? clearly here was a player enjoying his Rugby League and who was fully prepared to back his own ability in possession. The ground is now prepared for a tremendous showdown between the VB Premier League?s top two teams when the Jets host the Parramatta Eels at Henson Park next Saturday.
Newtown had a productive trip into northern Sydney in the Jim Beam Cup, with the Jets defeating Asquith by 42-20 at Storey Park on Sunday. This match was a hard fought struggle in the first half as the Jets turned over a wealth of possession, but managed to go into the break with a 20-12 lead.
The Jets? much improved ball control and completions rate in the second half swung the balance of the game their way. Tommy Gemmell, David Vial and Kiel Roberts had big games in the forwards, while Danny Morris, Rodney Peake and Alf Duncan were the best of the backs. John Sinisa made a memorable try saving tackle in the first half. Duncan?s return to the Newtown fold was marked by a try and seven goals.
Newtown?s affiliate club Parkes had a huge 54-28 win over the 2004 premiers Dubbo CYMS in the Group 11 match of the round, played in front of a big crowd at Pioneer Oval, Parkes.
This weekend in the Jim Beam Cup, Newtown travels to Woy Woy on Sunday (May 29) with this match at Woy Woy Oval set down for 3.00pm. In the VB Premier League match of the round, the second placed Sydney Airport Jets take on competition leaders Parramatta at Henson Park on Saturday (May 28) with this match kicking off at 3.00pm.