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Newtown win thriller and cement finals spot

August 26 2012

by Jodie Newell

Forget the claim that Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia. It was all happening sports wise in Sydney yesterday. Two superb games of NSWRL rugby league (Newtown v Illawarra, Cronulla v Windsor) and the Sydney Swans v Hawthorn clash at the SCG. All games mentioned finished with a combined difference of just 10 points highlighting the fact of the superb quality of sport on show in this great city.

At Henson Park yesterday those in attendance witnessed an outstanding game of rugby league that will be talked about for years.

The equation was simple, Newtown had to win to seal a place in the upcoming finals series and boy did they do it in style.

With seconds remaining the Jets were awarded a penalty. A point down and with their season riding on the kick, Jack Littlejohn calmly took the shot on a slight angle, thirty meters out, the ball sailed over the black dot for a thrilling one point victory over a tough Illawarra Cutters side.

All day, the game had been a tight encounter, with the big, large sized Cutters team punishing any move forward by a determined Newtown attack. Daniel Mortimer described the game post-match as “the most physical” he had played in all season and he wasn't wrong.

The Jets were the first to score after both sides gave little ground in the opening then minutes. Prop Mose Masoe broke the deadlock bursting over the Illawarra line, with Littlejohn converting. The Cutters didn't take long to strike back when Nick Emmett scored and Cameron King converted, the score 6-6 apiece and thats where the halftime scored ended.

A great illustration of just how tough and uncompromising the game was at Henson Park yesterday.

Newtown’s Mose Masoe (1st right) is shut down by Cutters Chis Astill (middle), Jeremy Latimore (2nd right) & David Gower (left)

image: 2012 NewellMediaGroup

Final score:  Newtown Jets 26 defeated Illawarra Cutters 25

Tries Jets: J Bosden, A Cherrington, S Houma, M Masoe

Tries Cutters : A Vea, N Emmett, B Goodwin, J Grehan

Conversions Jets:  J Littlejohn 4 Penalties : J Littlejohn 1

Conversions Cutters :  C King 4 Drop Goals :  C King 1

Referee: Chris Sutton

Touch Judges :  Peter Crombie-Brown & Peter Sciberras

Attendance at Henson Park : 8972

Some Observations on Saturday:

  1. BulletAs mentioned in the top of our article that Sydney had some big games on yesterday with serious finals ramifications. Firstly the Cronulla Sharks had to win against Windsor at Henson Park to keep keep any semblance of a finals berth alive. They won in another close game (2 point margin) and have to rely on the Tigers being beaten by Wentworthville and by Wests next week and the Mounties losing to the Bears to make the final 8. They also have to beat Auckland Vulcans in a tough away assignment next Saturday.

  1. BulletThe phrase “We were gone” was in full use yesterday. Jets coach Greg Matterson used it to describe his sides amazing comeback victory. Hawthorn AFL coach Alistair Clarkson used it to describe the Hawks predicament at quarter time when they were behind the Sydney Swans by 4 goals, turing around the game and winning. The Swans could be in big trouble in the coming weeks. Not only did they lose top spot yesterday, but venture down to Geelong next week and if they lose, out goes the chance of hosting a home final.

  1. BulletThe Henson Park experience. Seriously it was a brilliant day there yesterday. Believe the “hype” it is a great experience. Big crowd, perfect weather. Excellent canteen with BBQ foods and great pies that aren't priced at an arm and a leg. You get the feeling folks appreciate coming to Henson Park considering the costs of a stadium experience these days.

  1. BulletCongrats must go out to the Jets for setting up the “reunion” day. Many Newtown “alumni” were in attendance and would have been delighted with the final result. NSWRL should also be congratulated on scheduling a double header as the opening game was a ripper. The game of rugby league was the big winner yesterday.

  1. BulletFull credit to the Illawarra Cutters who turned up to play yesterday. They are a big side physically and gave no quarter throughout the match. Hooker Cameron King and Chris Astill were the standouts. They should give a good sight in the finals. Good to see a sprinkling of Steelers fans in the crowd at Henson yesterday.

Perfect weather and a good crowd at Henson Park yesterday.

image: 2012 NewellMediaGroup

The second half got underway with an early try from Newtown’s Anthony Cherrington and a conversion from Littlejohn and the Jets regained the lead. Jack Bosden was the next to score for Newtown, again Littlejohn converted and the Jets held a handy two try buffer over the Cutters.

During his call of the game Triple H FM’s Alby Talarico warned that the lead the Jets held wasn't insurmountable and that the Illawarra Side were a fast scoring team. He certainly got that call right as the Cutters slammed on two quick tries via an excellent breaking run from Jack Twist who passed the ball to Atelea Vea. The combination of Chris Astill and Bronx Goodwin were next to score. Cameron King made no mistake on both tries converting and the score was again tied at 18 all.

Incredibly the Cutters took the lead when James Grehan scored and King converted 24-18. The Jets season looked all but over when Illawarra’s King scored a drop goal and the margin went out to 7 points. The Jets had to regain possession on the restart and they did thanks to a superb gather by Peni Tagive. The ensuing drive was successful with Saulala Houma scoring and Littlejohn converting, Newtown behind by a solitary point.

The last minutes were played at a frenetic pace. Dramatically, Newtown were awarded a penalty with 90 seconds remaining. They elected to see the clock run down. Jack Littlejohn cooly aimed and then slotted a brilliantly taken kick and amazingly the Newtown Jets won the game by a solitary point.