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The Newtown Jets have gone one-up in the 2014 Frank Hyde Shield series with a 44-22 win against North Sydney at Henson Park last Saturday. The Jets turned on a top-class first half performance and went into the half-time break with a 32-0 lead. Their standard of play fell away in the second half and Norths were still in the game when they pulled back to 32-18 with twenty minutes left to play. Newtown regrouped and managed to kick away to their biggest win of the season.

Playing in front of a big crowd of partisan Jets fans, Newtown led 16-0 after as many minutes through tries to centre Samisoni Langi, lock forward Jack Noble and front-rower Ryan Verlinden. At that early stage of the match Newtown had an 80 per cent share of possession. The Jets maintained their first half dominance with further tries to second-rower Rhyse Martin and to the two wingers Tautau Moga and Chris Taripo. Newtown had an overall 70 per cent share of possession in the first half and had defended their line well  when Norths gained a repeat set at Newtown’s end just prior to half-time. Jets coaching staff member Jim Pizanias remarked during the break that the Newtown team was at long last putting into effect in match conditions what they had been doing well at training.

The second half proved to be a strange reversal of the trends in the first forty minutes, with North Sydney dominating possession and the Jets recording a higher error rate. The Bears scored their first try in the 50th minute after gaining back to back sets, then put themselves back into the game with two further converted tries to trail 32-18 with twenty minutes left to play.

Newtown extended their lead to twenty points after Tautau Moga made a long run from his own end of the field, ending in centre Matt Evans flicking the ball back to Chris Taripo for his second try. Newtown looked to be home when Arana Taumata converted Taripo’s try from the sideline, but Norths added another try to trail 38-24 with ten minutes left. Hooker Heath L’Estrange capped a quality game when he dashed out of dummy half and sent five-eighth Kurt Kara in under the posts in the 74th minute.

Jets coach Greg Matterson was pleased to take the win and was impressed with the team’s first half, where they had completed well, had very few handling errors and showed good formation in attack. Newtown fell back into bad habits in the second half with the kind of errors that have been severely punished by opposing teams in earlier games.

The Jets coaching staff commended Heath L’Estrange who is obviously regaining match fitness and the form that has seen him playing first grade football in the NRL and Super League for the past seven years. Newtown’s big men Kane Evans, Saulala Houma, Ryan Verlinden and Ray Moujalli worked together well and made considerable inroads into the Bears defence. Kurt Kara provided stability in the halves and fullback Jonathon Reuben ran confidently with the ball. Samisoni Langi, Tautau Moga and Chris Taripo all had good games in the backs.

The Newtown Jets travel to the northern Central Coast next Sunday, 18th May, for a danger game with the mid-table Wyong Kangaroos. This 10th Round NSW Cup match is timed to start at 3.00pm at the Morry Breen Oval.


Photo: Gary Sutherland Photography