Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Newport Titans won a see-saw Welsh Shield Final beating Valley Cougars 42-41 in a game where the lead changed hands five times.
Jon Griffiths went over on six minutes for the first Newport try. Ben Morris could have got a second minutes later but was held up as he went over the line.
Cougars took the lead in the 17th minute. Jon Breakingbury laid the ball off to Stu Williams following his 30-metre run down the wing. Williams was held up over the line but Adrian Owen scored from the resulting play-the-ball.
James Allen scored under the sticks to extend the Cougars lead. Ceri Cummins converted both tries but missed two subsequent penalties.
Martin Cawley scored a try in the corner for Newport in the 27th minute. Jon Breakingbury got a penalty back seven minutes before half-time but Ian McIntyre and Owen Jones both added another tries for the Titans in the last five minutes to give them a four-point half-time lead.
Jones added his second just after half-time to make it 22-14 but Ceri Cummins struck back with a try for the Cougars straight away and Karl Thomas equalised with a try on 51 minutes following a penalty. Cummins missed the conversion but kicked a fieldgoal minutes later to put the Cougars 23-22 up.
However, Newport regained control after two more McIntyre completed his hat-trick with tries on 55 and 64 minutes.
Kirk Johnson pounced on a loose ball to increase Newport?s lead in the 68th minute.
Owen got a try back for the Cougars on 73 minutes. Owen Jones completed his hat-trick two minutes later before Owen got another himself to put the score back to 42-35.
Richard Andrews got another try back for Cougars in the final minute but Newport held on for a one-point win.
NEWPORT TITANS: 1. Chris Vitalini, 2. Kirk Johnson, 3. Martin Cawley, 4. Ian McIntyre, 5. Pete Ovey, 6. Owen Jones, 7. Ben Morris, 8. Scott Hirene, 9. Rob Dodgson, 10. Jon Griffiths, 11. Matthew Dwyer, 12. Mark Wheeler, 13. Richard Davies. Substitutes: 16 Ross Palmer, 17 Richard Jones, 15 Martin Thomas, 14 Matthew Lee.
Tries: Griffiths (6), Cawley (27), McIntyre (36, 55, 64), Jones (40, 41, 75), Johnson (68) Goals: Dwyer 2/6, Palmer 1/3
VALLEY COUGARS: 1. Neil Sloane, 2. Delme King, 3. Adrian Owen, 4. Christian Wills, 5. Neil Edwards, 6. Ceri Cummins, 7. Karl Thomas, 8. Mark Jones, 9. Rhodri Morris, 10. Gavin Jones, 11. Jon Breakingbury, 12. Robert Jones, 13. James Allen. Substitutes: 14 Stu Williams, 15 Martin Lewis, 16 Richard Andrews, 17 Rob Kotyla.
Tries: Owen (17, 73, 77), Allen (21), Cummins (43), Thomas (51), Andrews (79) Goals: Cummins 5/9, Breakingbury 1/1 Fieldgoal: Cummins
Gamebreaker: Two Ian McIntyre tries on 55 and 64 minutes gave the Cougars too big a mountain to climb.
Gamestar: Ian McIntyre leading his team to victory with a hat-trick of tries.