Jets Upset Ladder Leaders
Newtown Jets have continued their impressive run of form as they dominated the ladder-leading Warriors 38-6 in a powerful display at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon.
It was another classy performance from five-eighth Josh Cleeland, having a hand in two tries thanks to his perfect kicking game - which was accompanied by impressive performances by Jesse Sene-Lefao and Kurt Capewell who dominated the middle third for the full 80 minutes.
Four successive tries in the first half proved to be enough to seal the deal for the home side, as they quickly ran out to a 22-point lead in a perfect start to the top-of-the-table clash. Despite a much tighter contest in the second 40 which was bravely fought from the visitors, it just wasn’t enough as they were simply outclassed and continued to make poor errors at key moments throughout the contest.
An attempted short kick off from the Newtown boys went further backwards than it did forward, with Warriors earning themselves some repeat sets to start the game however failing to capitalise on the early opportunity.
Moments later, Newtown quickly gained some valuable field position and despite some strong goal line defence from the visitors it wasn’t enough to hold out barnstorming Jets back-rower Anthony Moraitis as he crashed his way over to draw first blood in the opening five minutes.
It was only a few sets later that saw Newtown extend their lead early in the contest, with Travis Robinson capitalising on a neat grubber from halfback Fa’manu Brown, extending the lead to two converted tries just after the 10 minute mark.
It was a battle of the heavyweights and a game that was expected to be a hard-fought contest, but early signs were leading to a one-way affair as Josh Cleeland burst his way through some poor Warriors defence with a brilliant dummy, before kicking back inside perfectly for Matt Evans to score their third try of the afternoon.
The opening 20 minutes was anything but the dominant Warriors side that we’ve seen over the first half of the season, with a host of schoolboy errors preventing them from fighting back from the lacklustre start that saw them 16 points down so early in the game.
Malakai Houma extended the lead even further to add more salt to the wounds of the Warriors, as he brushed off countless defenders and he barged his way over the line right under the posts.
Despite the Warriors great amount of ill discipline in the opening 40 minutes, they had something to cheer for just before half-time with captain Mason Lino slicing his way through the Newtown defence to claim their first try of the afternoon.
Despite the consolation, half-time couldn’t come any sooner for the Warriors as Newtown lead 24-6 thanks to a dominant first half display, which included four successive tries and some brutal defensive efforts from the home side.
Warriors started the second half with a point to prove as they attempted to climb their way back from a disastrous first 40 minutes that saw them 18 points down. Lino took full control with a pin-point kicking game that earned some repeat sets and valuable field position, however they failed to take advtange thanks to some committed goal-line defence from the Jets.
With just 15 minutes left in the contest, the only difference to the scoreline in the second half was a Fa’amanu Brown penalty goal as both sides found their groove defensively, and continued to hold out some threatening raids as the game made its way towards the dying stages.
It was a much closer contest in the second half, but Cleeland capped off another stellar performance in the number 6 jersey, kicking back on the inside for back-rower Kurt Capewell who pounced on the loose ball to take the score out to 32-6 with five minutes remaining in the game.
A late try to Kenny Niko to left of the uprights capped off another dominating 80-minute display from the Newtown side, as they cruised their way to a 38-6 victory over a lacklustre Warriors outfit.