By Diego Arellano
Newtown and Canterbury-Bankstown fought out a 14-all draw in round five of the VB NSW Cup at the picturesque Henson Park last Saturday afternoon.
It was Newtown's first home game of the season and a healthy crowd was on hand to witness their beloved Jets come within a whisker of clinching victory.
The match, it must be said, never reached any great heights and both sides struggled with ball in hand.
Many attacking raids ended with the final pass hitting the deck or flying over the sideline.
But it was Newtown who looked the better in the opening exchanges and were rewarded just three minutes in when five-eighth Samisoni Langi crashed over from five metres out. Former NRL bad boy Arana Taumata missed the conversion and the Jets held onto a 4-0 lead.
The score remained unchanged for the remainder of the half with both sides failing to penetrate the opposition's defensive line.
The Jets almost extended their lead midway through the first-half when Saulala Houma crossed over the line only to be held up.
Another chance went begging just six minutes out from the break when a Rhyse Martin flick pass was knocked on by Jonathan Reuben with the line wide open.
Fielding several NRL stars, including a returning from injury Sam Kasiano, Reni Matuia and Krisnan Inu, the Bulldogs lifted their game in the second-half and soon levelled the scores via a good blind side try to prop Lloyd Perrett in the 12th minute. Krisnan Inu missed the conversion.
Canterbury then hit the front just two minutes later with a try the Bulldogs' best player, Lindon McGrady. Inu again had no luck with the kick as his team took an 8-4 advantage.
Despite being below their best, the Doggies were on the ascendency but the Jets were looking for their first win of the season and weren't going to give up easily.
They regained the lead after a wonderful pass from Langi saw huge replacement forward Ken Suru storm over. Taumata's conversion made the scores 10-8 with ten minutes left on the clock.
The try seemed to spark the Jets' forwards into action and Suru's effort was soon replicated by fellow prop Saulala Houma with just seven minutes left. Taumata's conversion would have all but sealed victory but his kick hit the posts and the difference remained only a converted try away at 14-8.
It was time to throw caution to the wind and Canterbury did just that when Tyrone Phillips, now playing at fullback, got the ball out wide and cut back inside to evade the defence and dive over beside the sticks. With only four minutes left, Inu converted and we were all level at 14-all.
As the time piece counted down Taumata had one last chance to snatch a win but his field goal attempt in the final minute went astray and both teams had settle for a well-deserved draw.
The Jets will this week seek to post their first win as they again play at home against Wentworthville, whilst Canterbury travel to the land of the long white cloud to face the Warriors.
Newtown Jets 14 (S Langi, K Seru, S Houma tries; A Taumata goal) drew with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 14 (L Perrett, T Phillips, L McGrady tries; K Inu goal) at Henson Park.