By Poppy Aldous
Mounties continued their early season dominance with a very clinical 38-16 victory over a tenacious Newtown in humid conditions at Aubrey Keech Oval.
The match opened in spectacular fashion when Mounties experienced centre Billy Tupou ran 90 metres to score after accepting an intercept close to his own line.
Play then settled into a battle for forward dominance and field position. Lagi Setu and Kyle O’Donnell matched motors with Newtown Props Saulala Houma and Andrew Pearn and the kicking of Mitch Cornish and Arana Taumata ensured interesting viewing in the sweltering conditions.
Newtown had clearly won this battle and when half Arana Taumata slipped a grubber neatly into the Mounties in-goal. Former Raiders NYC star, Jonathan Reuben dived on an awkwardly bouncing ball to square the scores at 6-6.
Taumata was again instrumental in the next try with another deft kick proving too difficult for fullback Joey Bond to decipher. This time it was fullback Shannon Gallant who came up with the points.
The scores were locked 10-10 at halftime and neither side had the ascendency.
Enter halfback Mitch Cornish and Jake Foster. In a stellar 20 minutes after the break the 20- year-old halfback found his rhythm and sent Foster across for a pair of tries.
First it was a cross-field kick, and then it was a perfectly timed pass that sent the speedy back-rower over untouched.
Cornish completed the job when winger Sam Sauliuma leapt high to claim a try off another well cross-field placed kick from his improving halfback.
Mounties had quickly pushed the score out to 26-10 and when Prop, Kyle O’Donnell found himself on the end of a piece of Matt Place brilliance to score under the posts any hope of a Newtown comeback was put aside.
At 32-10 the match was virtually over and spectacular intercept tries to Brett Lane and Joey Bond in the 76th and 80th minute had no bearing on the final result.
Coach Steve Antonelli has the competition leaders playing with guile and spirit and was impressed with the defensive effort of his side “We have only conceded 36 points in three matches,” said Anonelli.
Mounties will look to continue their undefeated season when they host the North Sydney Bears on Saturday; whilst Newtown travel to Wollongong to take on the Cutters.
Mounties 38 (J Foster 2, K O’Donnell, J Bond, S Sauiluma, B Tupou M Pangai tries; M Cornish 3, K Horton 2 goals) def. Newtown Jets 16 (S Gallant, J Reuben, B Lane tries; C Taripo 2 goals) at Aubrey Keech Reserve.