Jets powerhouse pack leads the way to victory in the West

Despite going into this top-five match as underdogs and having to deal with late team changes, the Newtown Jets defeated the Windsor Wolves 26-22 in the 13th round NSW Cup match played at Pioneer Oval, Parkes on Sunday.


The central-western NSW town turned on fine weather and an excellent venue, and the visiting teams obliged by providing an exciting spectacle with ten tries being scored and the lead changing hands several times. The Wolves led 12-10 at halftime but Newtowns increasingly formidable forward pack laid the foundations for the Jets second half resurgence.


Windsor fielded a strong line-up with no fewer than 11 players boasting NRL experience, whereas Newtowns squad had somewhat less by way of top-level playing credentials. The Jets were first to score when halfback Ryley Jacks sent fullback Henare Wells over with a beautifully-timed short pass.


The Wolves took full advantage of Newtowns inability to defuse two high kicks and scored twice down the right side to lead 8-4 midway through the first half. The Jets defended well on their own line for a period and both sides went close to scoring, with the Windsor winger Jennings having what might have been his third try disallowed. Newtowns five-eighth Samisoni Langi, on debut in the NSW Cup, showed superb judgement and skill in laying on a try for the rampaging Josh Ailaomai in the 32nd minute. The Wolves regained the lead on the stroke of half-time when the Jets again failed to prevent Windsor from scoring from a kick on the fifth tackle.


Jets coach Greg Matterson was most forthright in making it abundantly clear to his players that they needed to work hard on countering the Wolves attacking kicks. Once the Jets forwards were unleashed for the second half the game took on a different complexion.


The Wolves nearly scored early in the second half but had a try disallowed on a touch judges report. Newtowns forwards then took the contest right up to the Windsor try-line and put extended pressure on the Wolves defence. Jets captain Tinirau Arona rolled a grubber-kick into the north-westerners in-goal which was pounced on by the ever-alert Adam Henry. The enforced-departure of the talented Samisoni Langi with a shoulder injury looked ominous for Newtown and the Wolves regained the lead through another backline raid. Newtowns dashing centre Michael Oldfield broke away on the grandstand side and sent Henare Wells sprinting clear for his second try. Paul Rokolatis conversion attempt from out wide hit the upright but Newtown led 20-18 with 17 minutes left to play.


The Jets forwards continued to pound the Wolves defence and hard-working prop Lama Tasi ran an excellent line to score in the 67th minute. Rokolatis conversion extended Newtowns lead to 26-18, with this margin being reduced through an unconverted Windsor try in the 79th minute.


Newtowns coaching staff were impressed with the second half comeback that had been fuelled by the forwards dominance. They expressed concern with the manner in which Windsors first half tries had come from fifth tackle kicks and that the Wolves had been let back into the game midway through the second half. The Jets forwards wore down their opponents through their hard running, physicality and brute strength. Team captain Tinirau Arona had a fine game and was well supported by Dylan Napa, Lama Tasi, Kane Evans, Saulala Houma and Kurt Kara. Henare Wells maintained his good form and Samisoni Langi made an impressive debut in the senior ranks. Paul Rokolatis conversion provided a handy points buffer.


The Newtown Jets travel to the northern end of the Central Coast next Sunday (16th June) to take on the competitions surprise packets Wyong at the Morry Breen Oval, with this round 14 match timed to get underway at 3.00pm.