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Norths too strong for Newtown

March 2013

Henson Park, Marrickville,

New South Wales

by Jodie Newell

Rugby league returned to Henson Park for round 3 action of the 2013 VB NSW Cup, with the reigning premiers Newtown facing North Sydney.

The recurring theme amongst the VB NSW Cup losing finals teams coaches of last year is that the disappointment of missing out on the title still rankles. Last week Canterbury Bankstown coach Barry Ward made his claim, this week it was Bears coach Wayne Lambkin who chipped in. Lambkin told NMG Sports that the win was small consolation for last year’s dramatic last kick loss “It was a good win but it doesn't make up for last year’s semi final. It’s a new season and the boys played well in the second half”.

Lambkin was correct in his remarks as it was the second half where the North Sydney team lifted to outplay and outmuscle a Jets team who had dominated in a fast paced, relentless attacking first half.

The Jets went into the game with the addition of Windsor import Matt Mundine, along with Dylan Napa, whilst the Bears had the experienced South Sydney Rabbitohs and former Melbourne Storm winger in Matt King to bolster their attack.

The other talking point of the game was the NSW Cup debut of female referee Kasey Badger.

In hot, humid conditions, both teams began the match at a blistering pace, with the defensive lines prevailing, despite excellent attacking field position. Newtown in particular could not break the Bears defence after a succession of tackle resets.

After the prolonged arm-wrestle, Newtown where the first to break the deadlock when Matt Mundine produced an excellent bomb kick which saw Paul Rokolati gather and put the ball down in the right hand corner for the Jets opening points. Chris Taripo was unable to convert, 4-0 Jets.

North Sydney were quick to respond and posted their first try via a succession of crisp passes from Darren Nicholls, Luke Keary, Justin Hunt and Matt King who threw out wide for Greg Waddell to score. Apisai Koroisau kicked a superb conversion 6-4 in favour of the Bears.

The Jets dodged a bullet after their restart kick when out on the full, gifting the Bears excellent field position. Thanks to stout defence they held out the challenge and were able to move down the field and score.

Newtown's Ryley Jacks took full advantage of a penalty, when close to the try line, he executed a fine chip kick that Michael Oldfield connected with and the Jets regained the lead. Taripo again was unable to convert, Jets 8-6.

Jets Hooker Nafe Seluini was extremely creative in his work setting up some threatening plays.  Chris Taripo backed up his team mates play with a rollicking 65 metre line break run that almost brought more points, but was thwarted by the Norths defence.

Half time came and Newtown held a slender 8-6 lead.

North Sydney Bears coach Wayne Lambkin cleared the sheds to speak only with his players with Lambkin enlisting the aid of South Sydney Rabbitohs head coach Michael Maguire who spoke some words of encouragement.

That advice soon took effect, with the Bears playing a more direct line approach, focussing solely on running the ball up the middle and increasing the pressure on the Jets forward pack.

Leading the Norths charge was the large frame of Tom Burgess who crashed his way through the Newtown defence for valuable field yardage. The direct tactic paid off almost immediately when skipper Darren Nicholls scored after 6 minutes directly under the posts. Justin Hunt converted the “soda” extras and North Sydney were back in front 12-8.

Four minutes later, Hunt who has been one of the standouts for the Bears, scored again through sheer pace. He converted his own try and the pressure was on Newtown 18-8.

Newtown tried to counter the relentless middle attacking strtegy of Norths, but were having limited success. To their credit they kept trying and through sheer hard work, Usaia O'Sullivan managed to fashion a try. Again the Jets were unable to convert,with their chances, whilst slim, remained alive 18-12 with seven minutes remaining.

Bears winger Chris Centrone was going to have none of a Jets comeback, when he scored. Justin Hunt booted the conversion of the day, sealing the result 24-12 at the final whistle.

North Sydney Coach Wayne Lambkin told NMG Sports post-game that his half time address was not a paint tearing spray, but a more reasoned, measured discussion “There was no yelling or screaming, I just wanted the full concentration of the players. I, along with Michael Maguire told the boys if you stick at it, you’ll get this game”.

Bears full-back Justin Hunt continued his outstanding form and told NMG Sports he appreciated the help he was getting from training with the likes of Greg Iglis and co in the Souths senior squad “Greggie has helped me out heaps with my footy, obviously being a full back he’s offered different ideas on how I can improve my game. Which coming from the best player in the world, in my eyes has been great”.

There is no doubt Justin Hunt will make the Souths team later this year, particularly with Michael Maguire in attendance at Henson and would have been most impressed with his excellent form.

For Newtown, they were competitive, but are still trying to find a settled line-up and rhythm, which coach Greg Matterson will surely be working towards in the coming weeks. 

North Sydney have a tough assignment facing the Illawarra Cutters in Wollongong next Saturday at WIN Stadium, whilst the Newtown Jets are up against an in-form Cronulla Sharks at Shark Park on Saturday.

Action from the Jete v Bears game played at Henson Park

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup

Final score:  North Sydney Bears 24 defeated Newtown Jets 12

Tries: Bears J Hunt, G Waddell, C Centrone, D Nicholls

Tries: Jets P Rokolati 2, M Oldfield

Conversions: Bears  J Hunt 3, A Koroisau

Conversions: Jets -

Referee: Kasey Badger

Touch Judges :  John Woods   Jay Farlow

At Henson Park

Attendance : 8972

+ PHOTO GALLERYJets_v_Bears_Photo_Gallery_2013.htmlJets_v_Bears_Photo_Gallery_2013.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0

  1. BulletGreat to be back at Henson yesterday. the smell of the sausage sizzle, din of the crowd pre-game, the constant stream of planes heading to Mascot, the kids and parents out in the middle of the field at half-time having a kick. Hearing radio commentators Alby Talarico & Tony Dosen excitedly describing the action, spotting NRL stars Michael Crocker and Bunnies coach Michael Maguire. Great day out as per usual.

  1. BulletCongratulations to Kasey Badger as the referee for the game. It was her first VB NSW Cup match as ref and she did a great job. She easily handled the players protestations and there weren't any awkward, game changing decisions. She positioned herself well and paid penalties where they were required. Hope to see more of her and one day at NRL level. Great job Kasey!

  1. BulletCoaching gives you a hunger. Norths coach Wayne Lambkin was spotted tucking into a roast beef sandwich soon after his team’s win. His late lunch was momentarily interrupted by post-match interviews.

  1. BulletCould not help from laughing out-loud when passing the establishment brilliantly named “Supplement Mania” on Sydenham Road. What with all the politically driven ASADA & ACC nonsense that has been trying to discredit the great game and players of rugby league. Not that we in any way are suggesting Supplement Mania are doing anything inappropriately. Great to see a small business in Marrickville doing well. The store seemed to have roaring trade as we spied several large looking lads heading in for their supply of legitimate health goods.

  1. BulletJohn Trad’s Henson Park lap of honour continues to gather the most unusual of followers. Not only do the kids chase after him after a Jets try, but the grown-ups dressed in all sorts of attire are joining in on the chase. We asked Traddy how many laps would he be doing prior to the game. he confidently predicted 4, but fell 2 short.

  1. BulletConsider the following formation photo. Wayne Lambkin told his players at the half-time break to run centrally at the Newtown Jets defenders. His players didn't let him down, following the instructions to the letter. Tom Burgess (8) made several solid hit ups and gained vital yards and softened the Jets lines, with Justin Hunt (18) using pace and finesse to break through the gaps. A disciplined effort from the boys from North Sydney.