The Newtown Jets broke a two-game losing streak with a solid 26-10 victory over the Illawarra Cutters.
An excellent defensive effort in the first half set the platform for the Jets, who kept the Cutters scoreless for the opening 48 minutes.
Todd Murphy was the standout performer for the Jets, as well as Jacob Gagan who scored an important try double when the game was in the balance.
The Cutters dominated possession in the opening quarter of the game and were constantly on the attack, however the Jets’ inspirational goal-line defence prevented any points for the visiting side.
The 21st minute saw a dramatic Jets set when Gardner took an excellent intercept and almost scored, followed by Todd Murphy going extremely close but being ruled to have knocked on in the act of scoring.
Newtown were rewarded with a try for their defensive effort in the 24th minute through Daniel Abou-Sleiman when a bomb was re-gathered after it was allowed to bounce and then passed through the hands to the eventual try scorer. Murphy missed the conversion and it was 4-0.
Following the try it was the Cutters turn to defend as the Jets earned repeat sets through forced dropouts with no points to show for it.
This solid defensive period for Illawarra came undone in the 35th minute when Nesiasi Mataitonga scored off a Murphy kick that seemed to go uncontested. Murphy converted to make it 10-0 which was the eventual halftime score.
Kiti Glymin went agonisingly close to scoring for the Cutters just three minutes into the second half when he ran along the sideline and athletically planted the ball down, however he was ruled to have stepped out in the process.
Glymin had the same chance to score five minutes later and made no mistake to get Illawarra on the board for the first time. Shannon Crook hit the post in his attempted conversion and the score remained 10-4.
A wonderful Cutters try leveled the scores in the 52nd minute after Nathan Green made a linebreak and passed to Justin Hunt who scored under the posts, which resulted in an easy conversion for Crook.
With the scores locked at 10-all, Newtown got a penalty in the 62nd minute and successfully took the gift two points on offer through Murphy.
Gagan then scored two tries in three minutes to swiftly take the game away from the Cutters.
Gagan scored off the back of a strong run from Corey Brown for the first try, and then pounced on a loose grubber in the in-goal area for the second. Murphy converted the first attempt and missed the second to make it 22-10 after 69 minutes.
The game was well and truly put out of Illawarra’s reach when Newtown centre Blake Ayshford scored from dummy half in the 72nd minute. Murphy missed the kick and it was 26-10, which was the final score.
Murphy was the star performer for the Jets, whilst Gardner and two-try hero Gagan assisted him with solid performances.
The Jets will face the Canterbury Bulldogs at Belmore Oval next week whilst the Cutters will have the bye before going against the Manly Sea Eagles in two weeks time.
Newtown Jets 26 (J Gagan 2, N Mataitonga, B Ayshford, D Abou-Sleiman tries; T Murphy 3 goals) bt Illawarra Cutters 10 (J Hunt, K Glymin tries; S Crook goal)