With The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup finals series right around the corner, nswrl.com.au previews each side in contention for the Premiership.
Newtown Jets have had a much-improved season after going from seventh in 2021 (before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19) to Minor Premiers in 2022.
While the recruitment of Rugby Sevens convert Lachlan Miller and 2021 Queensland Cup Player of the Year Jayden Berrell has improved their roster considerably, they have been able to play an exciting yet tough brand of Rugby League which has left them well placed to recreate their 2019 Grand Final heroics.
The Jets finished the regular season with a record of 16 wins, two draws and four losses. The Minor Premiers have been on a roll heading into the finals series after winning seven consecutive games with their last loss coming in Round 15 against the Penrith Panthers.
With NRL players Will Kennedy, Connor Tracey, Kade Dykes and Sione Katoa unavailable through injury, the Jets will be without Miller and Matt Ikavalu for the foreseeable future although they have more than capable replacements in Kayal Iro, who has been sensational since making the shift to fullback from centre, as well as veterans Addison Demetriou and Reuben Rennie.
NSWRL TV Highlights | Jets v Bulldogs - Round 24
By the numbers
Coach Greg Matterson has helped turn the Jets into an attacking juggernaut in 2022 with the ‘blue baggers’ sitting first for tackle busts (861) and post contact metres (12,558), and second for points scored (651), tries (116), linebreaks (132), linebreak assists (105) and run metres (35,681).
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The Jets arguably have the most x-factor of any team in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup with players including Miller, Dykes, Iro and Franklin Pele, although it’s five-eighth Luke Metcalf who has proved to be the biggest game breaker in 2022.
There’s no doubt Metcalf is a first-grade calibre player but with players such as Kennedy, Matt Moylan and Nicho Hynes filling out the Sharks spine, Metcalf has had limited opportunities over the past few seasons. When given an opportunity, Metcalf has taken it with both hands and certainly piqued the interest of several NRL clubs in the process.
In a bid to play consistent first grade, Metcalf recently signed a two-year deal with the Warriors from 2023 and will no doubt want to go out with a second consecutive premiership for the Jets.
Metcalf has played 12 games so far in 2022 for 14 tries (4th) and 30 goals at a success rate of 79%. He also has six try assists, 10 linebreak assists, 202 kick metres per game and 3.5 tackle busts per game.
After winning the Minor Premiership against Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in dramatic fashion, the Jets have secured the bye for Week One of the finals> They will face off against the winner of the Qualifying Final between Penrith Panthers and North Sydney Bears on Saturday 3 September.