After a strong start to the year that saw them sitting in fifth position at the halfway point of the season, the Newtown Jets fell away to narrowly miss out on the finals. Possessed with attacking weapons such as Todd Murphy, Nathan Gardner, Dallas Wells, Blake Ayshford and Sami Sauiluma, as well as reliable forwards such as Junior Rociqa and Kurt Kara, the Jets certainly underachieved in season 2015.
Coach Greg Matterson says: “Underachieving and disappointing really. Individually, players were trying to win games themselves, but we didn’t really stick together as a team, and that comes back on me, and the players. We’ll have a lot of new faces next year.”
Best Game: The final game of the season for the Jets was for the Frank Hyde Shield against the North Sydney Bears, where they came away as 30-22 victors over a top-eight side with finals intentions. Matterson, while disappointed with the overall season, was pleased to retain the shield and end the year on a good note.
Worst Game: The Jets had an 18-point buffer on the Newcastle Knights in Round 24, but conceded 36-unanswered-points to go down 40-26. It was a match that perfectly summed up the Jets’ season, showing some promise and proving they are capable, but letting it slip through inconsistency and an inability to perform for 80-minutes.
Turning Point: When the Jets came up against Mounties in round seven, it was deemed the match of the round and the battle of the two in-form teams in the competition. The Jets lost the match 24-8, and their season began to slide, never regaining their early season form.
Standout Performers: Matterson could not pick a player who stood out for the Jets this season, making it clear there were no poor performances, but nobody really stood out. However, at the Jets awards night, Blake Ayshford won the Best and Fairest award, while Kurt Kara won the Players’ Player award and Junior Rociqa was named as the most consistent.
Destined for the NRL: Without a doubt, Todd Murphy is one of the standout players in the competition and is destined for an NRL appearance in the future. He has all the tools for a halfback; a great kicking game, an excellent running game, a wonderful passing game and good support play. He had 15 try assists and 34 goals in 2015, and a first grade appearance should be sooner rather than later.
Future Focus: The immediate goal for Matterson and the Newtown Jets is to assist the players to reach their full potential. If the players can put in a more consistent performance each week, they will certainly be finals bound in 2016. Matterson also foresees many player changes within the club, so a few fresh faces could add another dimension to the Jets’ attack and defence.