The Newtown Jets consolidated their hold on fourth place on the VB NSW Cup premiership table and fullback Henare Wells scored his 19th try, as the Jets won by 50-32 against Manly-Warringah at Henson Park on Saturday.


There were several good tries scored but the Newtown coaching staff were less than impressed with some of the soft tries scored by the Sea Eagles in both halves.


Veteran Jets front-rower Khalid Deeb, who is edging ever closer to his 100 games for the Newtown club, scored in the third minute of play and halfback Ryley Jacks kicked the first of his seven goals. Jets coach Greg Matterson remarked after the game that the relative ease of Deebs try was probably the worst start his team could have it sent all the wrong signals to the Jets just how much hard work would be needed to win this game against a Sea Eagles team fighting to stay in the finals race. Sure enough, Manly hit back and had the better of play for the next twenty minutes. The Sea Eagles scored twice in that period and led 10-6. The Jets grafted their way into Manlys territory on several occasions but play broke down without capitalising on the solid lead-up work.


Newtowns best forward on the day, Kurt Kara, put Henare Wells in for the first of his three tries in the 26th minute, and Wells scored his second try four minutes later when he leapt and caught a well-placed high kick by Ryley Jacks. The Jets missed a couple of scoring chances in the approach towards halftime, but winger Pierce Sapsford made no mistake when he scored after a swerving run to the try-line. Another conversion by Jacks gave Newtown a 24-10 halftime lead.


The Jets opened the second half with a frenetic scoring rush that looked likely to result in a cricket score. Five-eighth Ben Jones scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half and Jacks claimed a try for himself and converted all three tries, blowing Newtowns lead out to 42-10. The Jets performance then declined in intensity and big forward Ryan Verlinden didnt assist matters by being sin-binned for a disciplinary issue. The Sea Eagles added another converted try but Newtown reasserted control when the mercurial Wells scored his third try of the afternoon after Jacks had broken through the Manly defence. The Sea Eagles took advantage of some less than fully-committed Newtown defence to post three more tries in the last ten minutes, while Jets winger Adam Henry dashed over to bring up Newtowns half-century of points.


The Jets coaching staff might have been pleased with the teams try-scoring capability, but noted that their lacklustre defensive performance had ended the game on a disappointing note. The match might have been effectively over when Newtown led 42-10 early in the second half but the Jets players will need to stiffen their defensive resolve against top-four opposition like the Newcastle Knights next Saturday. Kurt Kara was the best of the Newtown forwards and Henare Wells has become a real crowd favourite with his eager support play and devastating speed. Pierce Sapsford had a good first half before being replaced due to a leg injury.


The Jets travel away next Saturday (17th August) to take on the third-placed Newcastle Knights at Harker Oval (New Lambton) at 3.00pm. The pressure remains right on the Jets to keep winning to shore up that all-important top-four finish.