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Newtown Jets defeated Manly Sea Eagles 28-20, for their first win since Round 11.

The Sea Eagles were up 14-12 at half time, but could not hold onto their lead due to a strong performance by Nathan Gardner, who was outstanding off the back of a hard-working Jets forward pack.

Dylan Kelly scored a hat trick of tries and was excellent for the Sea Eagles, in what was a quality contest between two sides that are determined for end-of-season success.

The match began with an early Jets penalty that gifted them field position.

Gardner scored following the penalty after the ball was shifted left to Dallas Wells, who passed for the try in the left corner.

Gardner converted his own try after hitting the post and squeezing in to give the Jets a 6-0 lead.

Kelly took advantage of lazy defence to find his way through to put the Sea Eagles on the board for the first time to lock the scores up at six a piece.

The Sea Eagles then withstood three consecutive sets on their line, successfully not letting the Jets score in this period despite having everything thrown at them.

This defensive effort was rewarded in the 27th minute when Kelly bagged his second try of the afternoon after throwing a huge right fend and getting the ball downwhile carrying defenders over the tryline.

The Jets responded quickly through Nesiasi Mataitonga when he pounced on a grubber that was mishandled by the Sea Eagles. Gardner converted to lock the scores up at 12-all.

A Kurt Aldridge penalty goal on the stroke of halftime meant the Sea Eagles led 14-12 going into the halftime break.

Gardner threw a lovely cut-out pass to Corey Brown to score the first points of the second half, and consequently took back the lead to 16-14.

Gardner was in on the action again just five minutes later when he broke through the defence and somehow got the ball to Sami Sauiluma, who was steaming through to increase the lead to 22-14.

With ten minutes remaining, the Jets furthered their lead with a length-of-the-field try, again with Gardner involved. He caught a bomb and broke the defence for 25 metres before passing to Wells, who made a dash down the left hand side. Wells before passing on his inside to Gerard McCallum who ran away to score a remarkable try.

Kelly completed his hatrick in the 77th minute when he scored a simple try in the left corner, capping off an outstanding game for the back rower.

It was an important win for the Jets as they did not want to head into the bye without a win in the past month.

After the bye, the Jets will face the Canterbury Bulldogs at Henson Park, while the Sea Eagles will face the out-of-form Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium next week.


Newtown Jets 28 (C Brown, N Mataitonga, S Sauiluma, N Gardner, G McCallum tries; Gardner 4 goals) bt Manly Sea Eagles 20 (D Kelly 3 tries; K Aldridge 4 goals) at Henson Park.