The Newtown Jets have forced their way into the top four of the VB NSW Cup ladder after defeating the North Sydney Bears 40-18 in a dominant display at North Sydney Oval.
Nathan Gardner, Dallas Wells and Todd Murphy were the standout performers for the Jets in Ray Moujalli’s 100th game for the club.
The Bears lost fullback Setefano Taukafa in the opening five minutes of the game with an ankle injury, however winger John Olive shifted to fullback and did a fantastic job as his replacement.
Gardner got the Jets on the board just seven minutes into the game following back-to-back sets but missed the chance to convert his own try.
The Bears had limited opportunity to score points early in the game and were continuously under pressure defensively.
They eventually cracked in the 23rd minute when Wells scored off a Pat Politoni grubber that was mishandled by the Bears. Gardner converting to make it 10-0.
It looked like it was going to be another Jets try just six minutes later when Wells broke the line and made a 70 metre dash towards the left corner. He almost scored but was ruled to have stepped out.
Wells made no mistake with his next linebreak however, with Gardner passing him the ball off a kick return to score under the posts to make it 16-0 with only two minutes remaining in the half.
The Bears almost hit back on the stroke of halftime when Olive put in an optimistic chip kick as the siren sounded, won the race to the ball and kicked again but could not find the try line.
The Jets went into the halftime break up 16-0.
Aaron Gray pulled off an amazing try-saving tackle just two minutes into the second half when Todd Murphy made a run and looked certain to score.
The Bears were barely hanging on when Murphy put Junior Roqica through some fatigued defence the 52nd minute. Gardner added the extras to extend their lead to 22-0.
Nobody could stop Murphy a second time around when he dummied and skipped through the defence to score, stretching it out to a 28-0 lead after Gardner kicked the goal.
It was looking to be a grim afternoon for the Bears in their return to North Sydney Oval but they managed to put together back-to-back tries in the space of five minutes.
Sam Manuleleua took advantage of a Jets error when he scooped up the ball and ran over the try line to score.
Five minutes later, another Jets error led to a Gray try as he picked up a loose ball and scored after Gardner could not handle a kick that was put through. Nikko Roberts converted both tries and it was back to 28-12 after 66 minutes.
Jason Bukuya quashed any hopes of a miraculous Bears comeback when he threw an excellent around-the-corner pass for Mitch Brown to score on the left edge. Gardner converting again to make it 34-12 after 71 minutes.
A final try to each side completed the 58-point affair; with Bears prop Michael Ross storming over, followed by Murphy scoring his second try thanks to a Gardner linebreak.
Ray Moujalli was paid tribute for his 100th game for the Jets by being asked to take the final conversion, which he did successfully.
The Jets will host the undefeated Mounties next Saturday, while the Bears will be hoping to move off the bottom of the ladder when they face Wyong Roos at North Sydney next Sunday.
Newtown Jets 40 (D Wells 2, T Murphy 2, N Gardner, J Riqoca, M Brown tries; Gardner 5 goals, Moujalli 1 goal) bt North Sydney Bears 18 (S Manuleleua, A Gray, M Ross tries; N Roberts 3 goals)