The Newtown Jets dreams of a second successive VB NSW Cup premiership were blown apart by the Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday. The Sharks were well in control when they led 28-12 at half-time, and they maintained their domination throughout the second half as the men from the Shire raced away to a 54-18 victory.


The Jets opened the scoring with a smartly-taken try to five-eighth Adam Henry in the third minute, when he seized upon a high kick from Ryley Jacks and scored beneath the posts. The Sharks hit back with two slick tries to lock forward Tyrone Peachey, nephew of former Cronulla great David Peachey, and led 12-6 after 17 minutes. Newtown stayed with the pace of the game and the hero of the 2012 Grand Final, Nafe Seluini, scored from dummy-half and the scores were 12-all at the twentieth minute mark. That was as close as the Jets would get to Cronulla for the rest of the match. Penalties, pushed passes, handling errors and possession turnovers gave the Sharks the possession and territory that they used to take control in the games second quarter. The Sharks scored three more tries, including one in the 39th minute, to lead 28-12 at half-time.


Whatever slim hopes the Jets retained of staging a comeback were crushed by two converted tries to the Sharks early in the second half. Trailing 40-12 and with Cronulla dominating possession, there was to be no way back for the defending premiers. Nafe Seluini scored his second try with a sizzling individual effort midway through the second half, but the Sharks added another three tries before full-time to stamp their authority on the game.


Newtowns long list of injured players who were needled up to get them through this match, plus playing in the warmest conditions since March, certainly didnt assist the Jets cause. Big Kane Evans bravely returned to play after an eleven week layoff with injury and was probably a bit underdone for a match of this nature. Centre Buddy Gordon left the field with a leg injury which led to a destabilising backline reshuffle. The Sharks pinpointed every area of Newtowns perceived weaknesses and the Cronulla boys were fired up after their surprise loss to Windsor in week one of the finals. Cronullas dominance of possession in the second half and Newtowns disorganisation as they tried to claw their way back from the 28-12 half-time deficit led to the second half hammering. Newtowns season had its highlights with some exceptional wins such as the away win against North Sydney in late May when the Frank Hyde Shield was regained, the stirring victory against Windsor at Parkes and the disciplined win against Wests Tigers at Henson Park in early August.


Newtowns season had all the highs and lows of most reserve grade teams, where you dont necessarily get or retain the players you would most like to. In the words of the old Rolling Stones classic, you cant always get what you want. On Sunday Nafe Seluini and Kurt Kara were Newtowns best, along with the veteran Ray Moujalli who kept on battling right to the final siren.


The Jets annual presentation dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, 2nd October at the Petersham RSL Club, with the evening getting underway at 7.30pm. Further details and booking arrangements are listed on the Newtown Jets website.