The Balmain Tigers have ensured that they will retain the Ryan-Pringle Shield for 2010, having seen off Newtown's challenge at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday by 39-14. In direct contrast to last week's inspiring win against Wentworthville, the Jets turned on a dreadful first half of football with the Tigers taking a commanding 26-6 lead into the half-time break.
Balmain dominated possession in the first half and punished the Jets for their poor discipline and sloppy ball control. The Tigers had twice the amount of time with the ball in the first forty minutes and kept Newtown at their own end of the field for lengthy periods. Balmain led 18-0 before Newtown responded with a try to fullback Johnathon Ford. The Tigers added a penalty goal and scored a soft try just prior to half-time to extend their lead to 26-6.
Newtown was more competitive in the second half but there was not to be any resurgence as against Wentworthville in the previous competition round. Jets centre Tu'u Maori showed strength and determination to score early in the second half but in keeping with the general tenor of Newtown's afternoon, a sixth-tackle kick that went astray ended in a 90 metres try for the Tigers, effectively ending any hope of a Newtown fightback.
Jets coach Greg Matterson expressed his disappointment after the match, saying that his team had put in a very ordinary first half and had paid the price accordingly. The preparation and build-up to this second-placed versus third-placed encounter had been good, but the Jets on-field attitude on the day looked to be all wrong. While the two sides had similar completion rates in the second half, Newtown's kicking game had let them down and the Jets lacked the backline thrust of previous weeks. Newtown's "big battalions", the front-rowers who had wrought such destruction against Wentworthville, made little impact against the Tigers.
The Newtown Jets face up to more well-credentialled opposition when they meet the competition leaders (and 2009 premiers) Canterbury-Bankstown at Henson Park next Saturday (1st May). This eighth round NSW Cup fixture kicks off at 3.00pm.