The Newtown Jets have won through to the 2008 VB NSW Cup Grand Final after defeating Western Suburbs by 36-22 in the Preliminary Final played at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday. The match was played in oppressively hot weather and players from both teams were visibly affected by the searing heat.
Newtown took control of the match in the first half, going in at the half-time break with a 24-0 lead. The Jets had scored four tries and punished the Magpies for their errors and suspect tryline defence. Newtown registered a 90% completion rate in the first half and dominated possession. Wests fought back to trail 24-12 with more than twenty minutes remaining to play in the second half, but the Jets rallied and pulled away with another two converted tries.
The Jets were best served by their experienced captain and five-eighth Sean Rudder and by forwards Mickey Paea, Rory Kostjasyn, Shane Shackleton, Martin Kennedy, Steve Meredith and Hep Cahill. Winger Byron Ford underlined his value to the team by scoring two tries in the first half. Newtown coach Greg Matterson was particularly pleased with the cohesion and initiative shown by the halfback pairing of Sean Rudder and Ben Jones. Jones scored the try that applied the coup de grace to the Magpies and went desperately close to a second try seven minutes from fulltime. Matterson also praised the workrate and toughness of lock Hep Cahill and hooker Rory Kostjasyn who have both been in top form in recent weeks. Newtown