The Mounties stepped back into the winner’s circle after defeating the Newtown Jets in the nation’s capital. The 30-24 victory is the Mounties’ first in a month, keeping them within striking distance of front-runners, the Warriors.
The home side led 30-4 heading into the final 20 minutes, but a late surge from the Jets saw them run in four tries in the final 10 minutes to give the home fans a scare.
Despite their ordinary finish to the match, the Mounties always looked in control and were rarely threatened inside the hour mark.
It was Jeremy Hawkins who crossed first to open the scoring, showing his fancy footwork to skip on the outside of his opposite number from close range to dive over the line.
The centre then helped push his side’s lead out to 10 points when he broke through Newtown’s defence on half way before sending Josh McCrone over underneath the posts.
The Jets struggled to contain Mounties’ big men as the home side marched up the field with ease, and when Cornish found second-rower Mitch Barnett in an attacking raid down the short side, the no.12 showed his strength to crash over for his side’s third try inside 25 minutes.
It was all the Mounties inside the opening half hour but Newtown managed to peg the margin back to within two converted tries when halfback Todd Murphy kicked through for Corin Smith to score in the corner.
Leading 16-4 at the break, the Mounties didn’t waste any time extending their healthy lead, with Rhys Kennedy plucking the ball out of the air off a pin-point kick from McCrone before momentum helped him slide over the line.
The home side enjoyed a wave of early possession in the opening minutes of the second half and soon jumped out to a 26-4 lead courtesy of Hawkins’ second of the afternoon.
The score line was beginning to get ugly for the Jets and when Barnett claimed his second four-pointer, the Mounties were all but home at the hour mark.
But the game would take a dramatic turn in the 70th minute when Smith dived over for the Jets’ second. His double would spark an avalanche of tries as Todd Murphy soon found himself with Newtown’s third try.
Trailing by 16 points with four minutes remaining, Sami Sauiluma was the next to score for the Jets as they came home with a wet sail. A try to Dallas Wells in the final minute remarkably had Newtown with six points of the Mounties, but time proved to be their enemy as the home side held on for a narrow victory
Mounties 30 (J Hawkins 2, M Barnett, P Mataele, J McCrone, R Kennedy tries; M Cornish 3 goals) bt Newtown Jets 24 (C Smith 2, T Murphy, S Sauiluma, D Wells tries; Murphy 2 goals)