Illawarra have recorded successive wins for the first time in the 2017 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season, running out 22 points to 12 victors over the Newtown Jets at WIN Stadium.
Not shaken by the conceit of an early try, the hosts ran in four tries to the Jets’ two, in what was a dominant display at home albeit in trying conditions.
In a dour first-half played in periods of rain, Newtown were first to strike, courtesy of centre Matt Evans who dashed down the western touchline to score in just the third minute of play.
Evans finished off a slick counter attack to send the visitors out by four, and so it would remain as halfback Fa’amanu Brown missed the ensuing shot at goal.
As the rain tumbled so too did men with the ball in hand, as handling proved difficult in slippery circumstances.
Settling into the match, Newtown’s Brown would have no such issue sending the ball through the posts at the second time of trying, opting to take a gift two points when presented with a penalty directly in front of the posts.
The 30th minute penalty sent the visitors out by a converted try margin, which would soon be erased as Illawarra hit back on the stroke of half-time.
A penalty kick for line to the Jets which didn’t find the mark presented Illawarra with a chance to swing the momentum, and that they did soon after the Newtown error, as Jai Field collected a loose ball to score.
The fleet-footed 19-year-old half dashed the better part of 80 metres to score his side's first, running the ball under the uprights to gift halves partner Shaun Nona with the simplest of conversion attempts.
With the scores at 6-apiece, the half-time siren sounded and the sides returned to the sheds ahead of the second period.
At the change of ends, Illawarra found quick points when interchange forward Josh Kerr crashed over for a try in the 41st minute.
Again, Nona would have little trouble extending the margin, sending Illawarra out by 12 points to 6.
Onlookers could have been forgiven for feeling a case of déjà vu, with Kerr bundling his way over the line for a near-identical second try under the uprights.
Nona obliged from the tee, taking the score to 18-6 with 27 minutes to play.
Needing quick points the Jets were cruelled by their own mistakes, presenting Illawarra with attacking opportunities which they were intent to capitalise upon.
Christopher Lewis found his way through a gaping hole in the Newtown defence as Nona laid on the side’s fourth unanswered try.
Nona’s perfect streak with the boot came to an end when he pushed the attempted conversion wide, though the hosts enjoyed a 16-point buffer with a quarter of the match to play.
Newtown only found more trouble as they threw caution to the wind in the search of late points, with errors plaguing their hopes of a miracle revival.
In a disjointed end to proceedings penalties and errors took the sting out of the play.
Though not to trouble the end result, the Jets took some consolation out of a late try to winger Leigh Higgins, taking the score to the eventual final margin of 22 points to 12.
ILLAWARRA RLFC – 22
Tries: Field, Kerr (2), Lewis | Goals: Nona (3/4)
DEF. NEWTOWN JETS – 12
Tries: Evans, Higgins | Goals: Brown (Conv. 1/2, Pen. 1/1)