Newtown has moved into second place on the NSW Cup competition ladder following Balmain's loss to Windsor and the Jets' narrow 22-16 win over Norths at North Sydney Oval on Friday night. The Jets made more than their share of errors and would have been pleased to come away with the competition points from this gruelling encounter with a combative Bears outfit.
The Bears were first to score through fullback Andre Itula, but Newtown replied quickly with a try to centre Chris Tuatara-Morrison following a well-placed high kick by halfback Liam Foran. Newtown scored twenty minutes later through second-rower Brad Barrett, but only after they had weathered extended pressure in their own quarter courtesy of their own handling errors and repeated penalties. The match was very much in the balance as the teams went in for the halftime break with the Ken Irvine Scoreboard reading 10-6 in Newtown's favour.
Newtown's mercurial fullback Luke Towers dashed in under the posts early in the second half following polished lead-up work from several team-mates. Norths responded with a Zeb Tawha try in the tenth minute and the match was still up for grabs with Newtown leading 16-12. The Jets gained some reprieve when Tuatara-Morrison kicked a penalty goal in the 22nd minute, and this lead was further extended through a great try to winger Troy Savage following splendid approach play by Liam Foran and centre Tu'u Maori. The Bears reduced the margin to 22-16 with four minutes remaining, when Norths halfback Jarryd Hogan scored in the wake of some ordinary cleaning-up work at Newtown's end. The Bears were still laying siege to Newtown's line when the fulltime siren sounded, much to the collective relief of the Jets' travelling supporters.
This was a hard-earned win for the Jets in less than ideal circumstances. Newtown had to deal with a five-day turnaround after their last-minute win at Shellharbour the previous Sunday, and they didn't appear to cope well with Friday night's showers and the slippery playing conditions. Even though they registered a completion rate for the match of just on sixty per cent, the Jets defended well for extended periods in both halves.
Coach Greg Matterson named tough forward Tinirau Arona as Newtown's man of the match and praised the efforts of Lopini Paea, Keith Peters, Brad Barrett and Jason Baitieri in the forwards, as well as Johnathon Ford, Chris Tuatara-Morrison and Tu'u Maori in the backs. The Jets travel to the south-west next Saturday afternoon (7th August) when they take on Western Suburbs at Campbelltown Stadium at 3.00pm. This NSW Cup 22nd round match will also determine the winner of the Tom Raudonikis Cup for 2010.
NSWRL NSW Cup - 21st Round
Friday, 30th July 2010
North Sydney v Newtown
Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Brad Barrett, Luke Towers, Troy Savage tries;
Tuatara-Morrison 2 conversions and 1 penalty goal
North Sydney 16:
Andre Itula, Zeb Tawha, Jarryd Hogan tries;
Eddie Paea 2 conversions.
Newtown led 10-6.
Referee: Jon Stone.
Touch Judges: Jay Farlow and Brenden Wood.
Weather: Light rain falling.
Playing surface: Excellent.