In a high-scoring match in which a total of fourteen tries were scored, South Sydney defeated Newtown by 45-36 in the VB Premier League fixture played at Aussie Stadium on Saturday.
Newtown led by 24-6 midway through the first half, after scoring three converted tries in a frenetic eight minute period. The Rabbitohs replied in equally quick time to draw level at 24-all with ten minutes left to play in the first half. Jets fullback Nathan Merritt scored his third try just before half-time for Newtown to go the break leading by 28-24.
The Jets scored first in the second half but the Rabbitohs largely controlled the second session, especially as their bigger forwards and interchange players took charge late in the game. The scores were tied up at 36-all with ten minutes left, but there was a sense of inevitability as to the final outcome, especially with the Rabbitohs? strong kicking game keeping the Jets unsettled. A field goal with five minutes to play, another converted try with three minutes left and a penalty goal right on full-time gave Souths their final winning margin.
While some of the post-match analysis focus might have been on how Newtown could have blown a 24-6 lead, the detail of the second half tells the full story. Souths had bigger impact players coming from the bench and used them effectively, while Newtown?s defenders repeatedly failed to lock up the Rabbitohs? ball carriers. Souths employed a clever kicking game and were aided by fundamental errors from Newtown, such as twice failing to find touch from penalty kicks.
Sam Isemonger (pictured) was Newtown?s best forward, setting a strong example with power-laden tackles and full-blooded hit-ups. He was well supported by Jon Green, Luke Douglas, Kevin Kingston and Cameron Ciraldo. While Nathan Merritt didn?t have his happiest day at full-back, he still scored three tries and kicked four goals, adding to his burgeoning points tally for the season. Russell Aitken and Beau Scott were the best of the other Newtown backs.
There was a general bye in the Jim Beam Cup competition this weekend and Parkes had the bye up in Group 11. In the NSWRL Women?s Rugby League, the Newtown Jetettes defeated the previously unbeaten Redfern All Blacks by 20-8.
The Sydney Airport Jets meet the Newcastle Knights this coming Saturday evening (July 16th) at Toyota Park, with this match kicking off at 5.30pm. This game is the main curtain-raiser to the Sharks-Knights NRL fixture starting at 7.30pm. The Jim Beam Cup team has yet another bye this weekend due to the enforced restructuring of the competition draw.
Photo courtesy of Gary Sutherland Photography.