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In one of this club?s most impressive team performances since joining the NSW Rugby League?s flagship VB Premier League competition, Newtown defeated Western Suburbs by 30-10 at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday night. This was a genuinely tough encounter, with plenty of power-packed hits from both sides. Newtown?s uncompromising defence at critical stages of the game proved to be decisive in the end.
The first half was fiercely contested, with the Jets? opening try through a tearaway surge by second rower Andrew Lomu coming after 29 minutes of play. Newtown led 12-0 at the break, after big centre Vince Mellars had hurled a Magpie attacker into touch-in-goal only seconds before the half-time siren.
Two further tries to the Jets in the first ten minutes of the second half were crucial. Full-back Nathan Merritt and centre Ryan McGoldrick combined smartly for Merritt to score soon after play had resumed, then barely five minutes later winger Frank Samia sprinted 95 metres to score, denying Wests an almost certain try at the other end of the ground. With less than ten minutes left to play, five-eighth Russell Aitken?s deft pass sent hard working prop Jon Green in near the posts for Newtown?s final try.
On a night when teamwork was the watchword, Andrew Lomu deserves special credit for his inspirational play and on-field communication. Lock Daniel Dumas worked especially hard and his tough one on one tackles rocked his luckless opponents. Hooker Kevin Kingston made a number of incisive dashes from dummy-half, and half-back David Hall?s well placed kicking game was his best this season. Ryan McGoldrick had a particularly strong second half and Russell Aitken always looked to create attacking opportunities. All the interchange bench players gave great support.
In the Jim Beam Cup match played at Henson Park on Saturday, Newtown competed strongly in the first half and in the early stages of the second ? and then self-destructed through poor ball control, conceding penalties and missed scoring opportunities. After trailing the Sydney Bulls by 16-10, Newtown?s self-inflicted damage let the margin blow out to a final score of 38-10. Hopefully the many youngsters in this side will draw some hard-learned lessons from this match.
Newtown?s best on this unusually warm autumn afternoon were Jardine Bobongie (whose over-enthusiasm earned him ten minutes in the sin bin), Rimini Reweti, David Buckley, Glen Sedwell and Anthony Farah.
Newtown?s affiliate club Parkes up in Group 11 is away to a great start in their premiership competition, with the Spacemen beating fierce local rivals Forbes by 38-28 at Spooner Oval on Sunday.
The Sydney Airport Jets have the bye in the VB Premier League this weekend, and Newtown has no match set down in the Jim Beam Cup either, with this coming weekend being designated as a general bye in that competition.