An inspired defensive performance has earned the Newtown Jets an important victory over Canterbury-Bankstown, with the Bulldogs held scoreless in the second-half for a 20-6 scoreline in Round 13 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
Up against a Bulldogs side stacked with NRL experience, the Jets backed up their recent run of form and cemented themselves in the top four on a cold and blustery afternoon at Henson Park.
Match: Jets v Bulldogs
Round 13 -
Venue: Henson Park
After absorbing multiple Canterbury-Bankstown attacking raids in the opening 10 minutes, it was the Jets who scored first. Winger Charlton Schaafhausen sparked a scintillating 50-metre bust, with the ball finding rampaging prop Braden Uele out wide on the next tackle to crash across the stripe.
Kyle Flanagan wasn’t able to convert from the sideline but the Jets had an early 4-0 advantage in front of their home faithful.
The Bulldogs soon struck back with a sensational try of their own - a brilliant backline shift sending winger Reimis Smith tip-toeing down the left sideline before deftly kicking inside for flying fullback Joshua Bergamin.
Five-eighth Kerrod Holland split the uprights with his conversion, edging the Dogs ahead by two.
Holland almost posted more points for the visitors moments later, catching Newtown unawares with a long-range break off a sneaky quick tap that put Canterbury-Bankstown on the offensive. But the Jets were good enough to hold the Bulldogs out and quickly launched a counter-attack.
Newtown snatched the lead back when second-rower Briton Nikora charged onto a neat pass from William Kennedy and tore through some tired defence to claim a four-pointer. This time Flanagan had no troubles with the conversion, giving the Jets a 10-6 advantage.
The Bluebags very nearly scored again off the next set, after a skillful passage of play down the left edge culminated in a pin-point kick for Flanagan in support – but the halfback was somehow held up by the desperate Dogs’ defence.
They wouldn’t have to wait much longer for attacking joy, though, as Schaafhausen athletically finished a well-worked move just inside the right-hand corner post on the stroke of half-time.
Flanagan was off-target with the conversion attempt but the Jets headed into the break with a handy eight-point cushion.
Both teams employed a no-frills strategy to open the second-half, trading sets and bruising tackles. It was a Newtown error that provided the first chance of the stanza for Canterbury-Bankstown, with an alert Holland swooping on the loose ball and racing within 10 metres of the try-line.
Canterbury-Bankstown looked to have capitalised on the opportunity when Liichaa reached out to score from dummy-half – only to be denied for a double-movement.
With 10 minutes left, the sin-binning of Bergamin for a professional ensured the Bulldogs would finish the match a man short and left them with a huge mountain to climb. The result was soon beyond doubt when Flanagan sliced through and found lock Jack Williams backing up on his inside.
The half converted the try he set up, sealing a valiant 14-point victory for the Jets.
Now in the top four, Newtown will enjoy a well-earned rest next weekend while the Bulldogs take on North Sydney in Round 14 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.