A strong start from Western Suburbs wasn't enough to overcome the Newtown Jets in their Intrust Super Premiership trial match this afternoon at Campbelltown.
Playing their first match at the spiritual home of the Magpies, a 12-0 lead early in the contest had the home side on course for a dominant victory before a sin-bin and dominant second half performance from the Jets saw them emerge with a pulsating 22-18 victory in front of a good crowd at Campbelltown.
After fending off some early pressure to keep Newtown out, Wests winger Watson Heleta intercepted a wayward pass and ran 50 metres to score next to the posts. From here the first 20 minutes was all Wests, in attack and defence, with JJ Felise scoring in shortly after thanks to a Josh Drinkwater 40/20.
West's opportunities continued with a penalty from a sloppy play-the-ball and a big hit from Sam McIntyre forcing an error. Penalties consistently gave Wests easy passage out of their half, but the home side failed to turn this into more points or mount any real pressure against the Jets.
The momentum quickly against the hosts, with Newtown scoring three tries before half time to steal the lead. Wests right edge defence failed to contain Jets backrower Scott Sorenson, who twisted in a tackle to score, Briton Nikora grabbed a double to give hosts a slender 16-12 advantage at the break.
The second half started off in the worst possible way for Wests, with an error surrendering possession just 20 metres out from their own try line. Brett Hodgson's side stayed positive and managed to hold out the Jets, despite having great field position and being down to 12 men.
However, things rarely went Wests way again, with a Tui Lolohea pass intercepted by Jets fullback William Kennedy in the 55th minute, who ran 50 metres to score to the right of the posts.
While it took some time, Wests eventually scored again through McIntyre, but it proved not enough, with Jets keeping the hosts out for the rest of the game — despite a half chance in the dying seconds.
The crackdown on penalties for poor play-the-balls continues, with four offences catching the eyes off referees with both sides taking plenty away from the match ahead of their season opener next fortnight.
Newtown Jets 22 (Nikora 2, Sorensen, Kennedy tries; Marschke 3/4 goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 18 (Heleta, Felise, McIntyre tries; Lolohea 3/3 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium