Mounties graft out a tough win against Newtown

The Newtown Jets lost a dour and gruelling NSW Cup match against the Mounties club 22-16 at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon. The Mounties are the NSW Cup feeder club for the Canberra Raiders NRL franchise and they were well reinforced by the Green Machine brigade on Saturday. Newtown led 10-6 at half-time and 16-12 with ten minutes left in the match, but the Mounties experience and grit enabled them to score two late tries to win out in what had been an arm wrestle of a match.


The Mounties took a 6-0 lead after twenty minutes after they had dominated possession for an extended period. Newtown conceded seven penalties in the first half and werent assisted by a match-ending leg injury to five-eighth Matt Mundine, which led to a disruptive backline reshuffle. Fullback Henare Wells delivered a smart cut-out pass in the 30th minute to winger Paul Rokolati who scored in the left-side southern corner. Wells then capitalised on clever lead-up work by Saulala Houma, Ryley Jacks and Michael Oldfield to score under the posts in the 35th minute. Rokolatis conversion gave Newtown a 10-6 lead at half-time.


The Jets made the worst possible start to the second half by conceding a soft try to the Mounties in the second minute. Newtown regained the lead seven minutes later when hard-running front-rower Saulala Houma scored another of his signature bullocking tries. Newtown led 16-12 but didnt score another point for the remainder of the game. The Jets paid the inevitable price for a high error rate, turnovers in possession at the Mounties end of the field and critical mistakes made by their back three when under pressure. The Mounties stuck to their task and took the lead by 18-16 with ten minutes to play, and extended this lead to 22-16 in the 39th minute. The Mounties were well served by experienced players such as former Test and State of Origin veteran Shaun Berrigan who provided vital leadership and nous in the tense closing stages of the game.


The Jets made too many errors in both halves and burned up a lot of energy making amends for those mistakes. The Jets coaching staff regarded this as a winnable game that was allowed to slip away. It was a disappointing performance compared to the exultation associated with the 62-22 thrashing of Wentworthville two weeks before. Newtowns big forwards Lama Tasi, Kane Evans, Dylan Napa and Saulala Houma provided plenty of go-forward but the Jets backs appeared to have limited attacking options especially at the oppositions end of the field.


Newtowns next game is against the St George-Illawarra feeder club Illawarra Cutters at Henson Park next Saturday, 4th May at 3.00pm, when the two clubs will once again contest the Tom Kirk Cup. The unbeaten Cronulla Sharks will confront the men from Aotearoa, the Auckland Vulcans, in a NSW Cup curtain-raiser at 1.00pm. The Newtown club is pleased to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by women to the Rugby League game over many years and have designated this Saturdays NSW Cup double-header occasion at Henson Park as Ladies Day.