Match report: Newtown v. St.George-Illawarra, Saturday, June 7

THE Sydney Airport Jets' 34-22 loss to St. George-Illawarra at Henson Park on Saturday proved just how competitive Newtown can be with the best teams in the 2003 NSW Premier League. This match also proved how the Jets' errors and missed opportunities are invariably very costly against such well-credentialled opponents. Newtown's Official Patron John Singleton was in attendance, and no doubt was pleased with his team's overall effort against the power-packed Dragons. The Jets had done well to only trail by 18-10 at half-time, after turning in a shoddy first half completion rate. Alf Duncan and Craig West scored Newtown's first half tries, with West's try coming from some slick scrum base work from new signing Craig Field. Roared on by the big home crowd, Newtown had the Dragons back-pedalling early in the second half after a try to centre Dustin Cooper (on loan from the Melbourne Storm). However, the Jets failed to maintain their momentum and to make use of their territorial advantage, allowing the Dragons to counter-punch with an eighty metres try. The visitors then enjoyed a glut of possession over the next fifteen minutes, scoring two more tries on the back of repeat sets of possession. Newtown fought back with a converted try six minutes from full-time, with Cooper seizing upon a deftly-placed kick from Field. The Jets' best were forwards Monah Elahmad, Joe Lichaa, hard working Tony Phillips and captain Troy Barnes. Dustin Cooper gave a strong first-up display, and five-eighth Craig West again impressed. Craig Field, in his first game of grade football in two years, showed what value he will be to the club in the forthcoming weeks. The Jets travelled to Ringrose Park in the Jim Beam Cup competition on Saturday afternoon, and given the unsettled nature of the team's preparation for this match, competed reasonably well despite going down to Wentworthville by 44-18. The Sydney Airport Jets meet the Penrith-St.Marys Cougars in both grades at the Western Weekender Stadium, St. Marys this Saturday (June 14). The NSW Premier League match kicks off at 3pm, and the Jim Beam Cup curtain-raiser is timed to start at 1.15pm.

A great start to the SOO series at Suncorp

THE first State of Origin match in 2003 at a packed Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane was another classic match with NSW coming out the victors by 25 - 12 over a very committed QLD team.

Injuries give some players hope at the expense of the dejected

WITH Queensland suffering three injuries in tonight?s opening Origin match, Wayne Bennett and his selectors must now look at who is available for the second match at Telstra Stadium in a fortnight.

Breaking News: Origin series to start under grey skies

THE rugby league State of Origin series will start under grey skies in Brisbane tonight before a sell-out crowd of more than 50,000 at Suncorp Stadium.

Round 14 - Teams and Fixtures

FRIDAY 13th June 2003

Riddell denies off-field dramas led to sacking

ST George Illawarra cult figure Mark Riddell has denied off-field behaviour had been responsible for his sacking from the starting side. Dragon's coach Nathan Brown has dumped hooker Riddell to the bench and handed his spot to rookie Dean Young for Friday night's clash at Newcastle.

State of Origin I - Player by Player

PLAYER by Player analysis for the Queensland and New South Wales sides to play in tonight's opening Rugby League State of Origin game at the rejuvenated Lang Park, aka Suncorp Stadium.

Queenslanders to risk loss rather than draw

QUEENSLAND coach Wayne Bennett has instructed his players to risk losing rather than go into extra time in tonight's first State of Origin match against NSW in Brisbane.

Bennett doesn't know how Tallis will handle Origin I

QUEENSLAND coach Wayne Bennett believes Gorden Tallis's fragile temperament will be seriously tested in tomorrow night's emotion-charged State of Origin rugby league opener in Brisbane.

Johns says forget last year

NSW captain Andrew Johns insists the Blues won't use last year's heart-breaking series-deciding draw with Queensland as motivation ahead of the opening State of Origin game on Wednesday night.

Backs Will Win It For Queensland-Webcke

NO-NONSENSE prop Shane Webcke believes Queensland's slick backs can put the Blues away in Wednesday night's State of Origin series opener at Suncorp Stadium.

Ferris gets two weeks for dangerous throw

MANLY halfback Jason Ferris has copped a two-week suspension after being found guilty of a grade one dangerous throw charge at the National Rugby League's judiciary hearing.

Hopoate in hot water again

CONTROVERSIAL Manly rugby league winger John Hopoate will face disciplinary action from the club after admitting he played in a fifth grade rugby union match on Monday.

McLinden set to remain a Raider

RAIDERS five eighth Mark McLinden is poised to sign a multi year deal and remain with the table topping Canberra Raiders. The news will no doubt warm the hearts of Canberra fans as McLinden is one of Canberra's favourite sons and his loss would have devestated many Canberra fans, including this one.

Tasesa Lavea To Switch Codes

FORMER Kiwi league international Tasesa Lavea may be targeting an Auckland NPC rugby berth, but recovering from knee surgery is his immediate concern.

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