Jets supersonic first half sees them through to second week of finals

The scoring of points at the Mary Street end of Leichhardt Oval must have been banned on Sunday, with the Newtown Jets running up an astounding 40-0 lead in the first half.


Their opponents, Wentworthville, then scored 26 unanswered points in the second half when it was their turn to run to the northern end. The unusual points scoring pattern in the second half was due as much to the obvious deterioration in Newtowns standard of play as it was to Wentworthvilles determination to end their season with some pride.


Newtowns first half was close to the best that the Jets have played for several weeks. Halves Ryley Jacks and Adam Henry were in top form and Jacks figured prominently in Newtowns first five tries, scoring two himself. Two of the other tries came from well-judged kicks by Jacks and another where he cleverly fielded an attacking kick from a Wenty player and set off on a sixty-metre run, with centre Buddy Gordon ultimately being the try-scorer. Michael Oldfield scored twice in quick succession close to half-time and replacement winger Chris Taripos six conversions helped boost the Jets to an insurmountable 40-0 lead. Newtown registered an 87% completion rate in the first half and they also defended very well when under pressure at their own end of the field, keeping their opponents scoreless for the first forty minutes.


The second half saw a complete transformation as the Jets standard of play fell away badly. Their second half completion rate plummeted to 54% and the Jets committed no less than seven unforced errors in a frustrating display that recalled some of their less impressive performances in recent weeks. Newtowns shoddy discipline and defence plus Wentys predictable fight-back to try and save their season resulted in the Jets being nilled in the second half. In fact Newtown only advanced to within thirty metres of Wentworthvilles try-line once in the entire second session.


Jets coach Greg Matterson was quick to praise Newtowns first half defensive display. He had urged his players to contribute more to their defensive workload and for every man to put in that extra one per cent, which can be the defining edge in sudden death semi-finals. He also acknowledged Newtowns top-class execution in attack which he described as being like where everything turned to gold. Matterson was obviously critical of the second half turnaround but noted that it was inevitable that Wentworthville would hit back in the second half. The Jets poor completion rate in the second half prevented them from applying any pressure at Wentys end, when a couple of tries to Newtown would probably have snuffed out any resurgence.


The Newtown coaching staff nominated halves Ryley Jacks and Adam Henry as being among Newtowns best players. Kurt Kara once again turned on a non-stop performance and Buddy Gordon had a much-improved game. Special praise was given to winger Chris Taripo who had played a full game for Cabramatta in a Ron Massey Cup semi-final on Saturday, came to Leichhardt Oval on Sunday to be Newtowns 18th man, and then as a late inclusion played another full game and scored a try and kicked six goals. Big forward Saulala Houma was named as one of Newtowns 17 players despite suffering from the flu but was not used in the game.


The Jets now advance into week two of the VB NSW Cup finals series and will meet the Cronulla Sharks at 1.00pm on Sunday, 22nd September at Leichhardt Oval in another sudden-death encounter.