Newtown Jets have pulled off one of the most amazing comebacks in rugby league history, running out 40-38 victors over a strong Manly Sea eagles side at Henson Park on Saturday afternoon.
It was all one way traffic for 60 minutes of the game, the score running out 38-12 in what was a dominant display from the Manly Sea Eagles, but the scenes were that of a fairy tale after the Newtown Jets scored 5 unanswered tries in the final stretch to steal victory in a remarkable game of Rugby League. The comeback was led by Vitale Roqica who lead the way with some brilliant carries, whilst Willis Meehan was also strong in a losing outfit.
An early break off the first set of the game from Anthony Moraitis were early signs of another dominant Newtown display, and it didn’t take long for them to claim first points after Kurt Dillon crashed over to the left of the uprights.
Back to back penalties from the competition heavyweights mounted a heap of pressure on the Newtown Jets, with Manly taking full advantage as Jamil Hopoate showed great footwork to defeat his opposite number and earn his team a quick reply and their first try of the afternoon.
It was only moments later when Manly claimed an unlikely lead after Newtown failed to clean up a cross field kick, with the ball eventually landing in the arms of Clint Maguire who crossed in the right hand corner. Godinet failed to convert from the sideline and they held a slight 8-6 lead after15 minutes.
Manly seemed to have committed to ending their season on a high note with their forwards laying a strong platform for a host of attacking raids, and it eventuated into their third unanswered try with Halauafu Lavaka crossing under the posts after Newtown again failed to clean up a high ball.
Further ill discipline from Newtown gave Manly another easy ride into their end zone, and a classy back line movement resulted in Manlys fourth try of the game with Ben Fritz reaping the rewards off a perfect set play. Dylan Kelly landed the conversion from the sideline and the score escalated to 20-6 after 25 minutes.
Jamil Hopoate quickly crossed for his second try of the game as he capitalized on a pin point kick from Isaac John, after the five-eighth broke the line on last tackle and fired a grubber towards the goal posts after drawing the fullback.
After Newtown finally gained some decent possession and a repeat set on Manly’s line, some quick hands down the left hand side saw Brent Anderson cross in the corner for their second of the day.
Despite the late try, Manly were playing with a point to prove after a dominant first half display saw them hold onto a 26-12 lead at the break.
A schoolboy error from the home side saw Manly threaten Newtowns line early in the second 40, and Clint Maguire scored his second of the game after being on the end of a brilliant Pita Godinet cut out pass as they extended their lead to 20 after 45 minutes.
Newtown eventually earned themselves some perfect field position that would be seen as the perfect opportunity to mount a miracle comeback, but despite a series of attacking sets on the visitors line they failed to find their form and take advantage of their chances.
With Manly continuing to hold out the Jets with some committed goal line defence, it eventuated to another try for the competition cellar dwellers as Willis Meehan ran off a beautiful short ball and evaded the fullback to earn himself a much deserved try. Kelly again converted and the score was set at 38-12 after 60 minutes.
Newtown managed to cross for their third try of the game after a series of offloads saw captain Matt Mcilwrick cross in the corner, refusing to accept defeat despite the unexpected scoreline.
They failed to concede defeat and were playing some razzle dazzle footy in an attempt to narrow the lead, and Mcilwrick was leading by example as he crossed for his second try of the game after he came from no where to support some great lead up play.
Just when the game seemed to be all but over, Vitale Roqica made a barnstorming run up the middle of the field and drew in the fullback to gift Corin Smith a four pointer as the score closed into 38-28 with just under 10 to go in the contest.
It was unbelievable scenes at Henson Park with Travis Robinson again crossing under the black dot for their fourth try in 15 minutes to bring the game to 38-34 with the final siren only 5 minutes away.
It was deemed impossible for Newtown to steal victory as they were trailing by 26 points with at the 60 minute mark, but a Fa’amanu Brown try right before full time capped off one of the greatest comebacks in Rugby League history, as they eventually won 40-38 to hold onto their top four position in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Ladder.