THE final round of the Jim Beam Cup Competition arrived on the weekend and in our final encounter in the competition proper we took on Woy Woy Roosters at Redfern Oval.
(1st Qualifying Final)
v Penrith-St Mary's Cougars
5.25pm Saturday, September 13
Coach: Michael Potter
THE Sydney Airport Jets ended their 2003 NSW Premier League season with a thrilling 32-28 win over the Newcastle Knights, played at Energy Australia Stadium on Sunday in front of a crowd of more than 15,000.
The Jets were away to a wretched start in this match, trailing by 16-0 after as many minutes, and looking straight down the barrel of an end of season rout. Coach Colin Murphy made some judicious on-field changes, as Newtown fought back through tries to winger Alf Duncan, second rower Tony Phillips and centre John Sinisa to go the break all tied up at 16-all.
The second half was notable for an inspired display by half-back and captain Craig Field, who scored two tries, set up another for Sinisa and led by example right through the pulsating second half. Newtown took the lead at 22-16, then faltered badly during a bad patch as the young Knights stormed back to the front by 28-22. Field's second darting try and his precision pass to the pacy Sinisa put the Jets ahead by 32-28 with barely ten minutes remaining, a lead they grimly defended despite some thoroughly anxious moments amid a barrage of Newcastle penalties.
Field was well supported in the backline by strong running centre Dustin Cooper (on loan from the Melbourne Storm), in-form fullback Andrew Le Breton, Alf Duncan and five-eighth and goal kicker Troy Barnes. Lock and former Junior Kiwi Aaron Trinder gave the standout performance of his three seasons with Newtown, and was instrumental in the Jets' first half fightback as he powered through the Knights' defences. Forwards Tony Phillips, Ben Tickle and Josh Annesley also grafted hard. Fellow packmen Joe Lichaa, Monah Elahmad and Aaron Sweeney deserve special mention for returning early from the injured list to make effective contributions to this win.
Newtown's Jim Beam Cup team also ended their 2003 competition commitments on an upbeat note, in recovering from a 24-8 deficit to snatch a 24-all draw with the Windsor Wolves. This match at Henson Park on Saturday certainly lacked nothing by way of intensity and ferocity. Jets five-eighth Craig West and second rower Mark Fakahua scored two tries each, with ex-Newcastle Knight Ryan Milligan scoring a try and kicking two important goals. Half-back Matt Rose was again in superlative form, as he repeatedly tormented the Windsor defenders. All the Newtown forwards worked hard, with Luke Ellis, Andrew Kaleopa and Lee Trasler prominent.
The Sydney Airport Jets players, staff and officials wish to thank all of their generous sponsors who gave such crucial support right throughout the 2003 season, and of course the many Jets fans who all helped to make home games at Henson Park such a unique community Rugby League experience. We'll see you all again for our 97th season in 2004.
THE Auckland Rugby League (ARL) has finally relinquished the dream of revitalising Carlaw Park.
ROUND 26 of the ESL brought up some very close matches. Bradford in a nail biting win over the Rhinos have shown themselves worthy of the top spot.
SUNCORP Stadium's much maligned playing surface has been turned into mulch, less than five weeks before the Brisbane ground hosts a rugby union World Cup match.
CLUB bosses have unanimously backed the actions of the National Rugby League in relation to negotiations with the Rugby League Professionals Association (RLPA).
THE Sydney Roosters are adamant Newcastle has learned to cope without champion playmaker Andrew Johns and will be ready for the defending premiers in the qualifying final at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night.
BRISBANE will have to start its NRL finals campaign without test prop Petero Civoniceva after he was suspended for two matches on Tuesday.
FRIDAY 12th September 2003
CANBERRA v MELBOURNE at Canberra Stadium at 7.35pm.
THE Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs team line-up as announced last week from Round 26 has been altered for this weeks? 2nd Qualifying Final, with Glen Hughes coming onto the interchange bench and Tony Grimaldi to play Premier League.
MATTHEW Elliott has named his lineup for this Friday's Qualifying Final at Canberra Stadium. Michael Monaghan has been named in the starting side at five-eighth, while James Evans and Alan Tongue have both been named on a six-man bench to be reduced to four on Friday.
THE Newcastle Knights will welcome back captain Ben Kennedy and outstanding NRL rookie, Craig Hall into their team to tackle premiership favourites, Sydney City Roosters this Saturday night at Aussie Stadium.
COACH of the 2003 Minor Premiers , John Lang will have a smile a mile wide with the news that his barnstorming 2nd rower , Joe Galuvao has completely recovered from his leg injury and is at his enthusiastic best in anticipation of this weekends game against the Brisbane Broncos.
RICKY Stuart has a tough decision to make before the Roosters run out in their finals match against the Newcastle Knights this Saturday night - which player to leave out of the 18 man squad that was named today.