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The Sydney Airport Jets certainly made the most of their opening home game occasion at Henson Park on Saturday. Playing in front of a good sized crowd, Newtown won both matches as well as celebrating the opening of the stunningly-refurbished dressing rooms and the recommissioning of the famous top-deck Jet Set Lounge. The Jets comfortably defeated the Bulldogs by 42-20 in the VB Premier League main game, and showed plenty of courage in fighting back to beat Belrose by 40-32 in the Jim Beam Cup curtain-raiser.
With Sharks head coach Stuart Raper an interested observer, Newtown?s Premier League win showed a lot of improvement over the previous two weeks outings. The halves combination of Russell Aitken and David Hall displayed more cohesion and endeavour, while all the forwards made strong contributions to this morale boosting home ground win. Fullback Nathan Merritt scored three slashing tries and thrilled the crowd with his poise and obvious class. Centre Frank Samia impressed in his return Premier League match in the Newtown colours, and winger John Sinisa made some trademark sideline dashes. Coach Colin Murphy was clearly ?chuffed? by his team?s performance, but acknowledged that there was plenty of room to improve in areas like completions and in the play the ball.
Newtown?s thrilling come-from-behind Jim Beam Cup win was particularly meritorious, given the unseasonably warm playing conditions and some inconsistent refereeing decisions. Young Jets halfback Anthony Farah is playing with great skill and confidence, while five-eighth Ricky Roberts bagged three important tries. Hard working front rower David Buckley and flamboyant backrower Jardine Bobongie were the best in a Newtown forward pack where everyone earned their winning bonus.
Newtown plays away in the VB Premier League next weekend, when the Jets travel to Campbelltown Stadium to take on Western Suburbs on Friday evening (April 8th) at 8.00pm. The Sydney Airport Jets are at home in the Jim Beam Cup competition to the Sydney Bulls, with this match set down for Henson Park on Saturday (April 9th) at 3.00pm.