Round 11 NSW Cup Match Report

Ricky Newell

Blacktown and Jets fight out NSW Cup draw

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles and the Newtown Jets fought out an entertaining 22-all draw in Round 11 of the NSW Cup at 4 Pines Park today.

In the second of three matches on Mother’s Day, Blacktown fought back after conceding three tries in the opening 10 minutes to score in the 77th minute and tie the game. The home side had a chance to snatch the victory on the cusp of full-time, with mere centimeters proving to be the difference. 

The match was memorable for the Fainu brothers.

In his second NSW Cup game, Latu lined up alongside his brother Samuela, who made his NRL debut against the Wests Tigers three weeks ago. The match today means the duo has now played together at four levels – Harold Matthews Cup, SG Ball Cup, Jersey Flegg Cup, and NSW Cup, with their latest game together coming in August last season in the Jersey Flegg.

Newtown centre Samuel Stonestreet opened the scoring in the first minute after breaking out of a tackle and diving over in the corner for an early 4-0 lead.

In quick succession, the Jets had their second try four minutes later through winger Josh Mansour. Halfback Niwhai Puru was integral in the set up for the try, placing a grubber kick through the line that sat up perfectly in-goal for the flying winger to gather and ground for the try. Puru converted for a 10-0 scoreline. 

Newtown made it three in seven minutes as Puru got on the scoresheet himself. Stonestreet set the try up with another well-placed grubber kick, sitting up perfectly for the halfback to score. He converted his own try to take the lead to 16 points. 

Blacktown scored in the 16th minute off the back of a scrum through centre Fletcher Myers on the left edge. Latu Fainu ran hard at the line and passed to his brother Samuela, taking in two defenders before offloading to Myers who stepped around two tackles to dive over the tryline. Halfback Jamie Humphreys converted to take the score to 16-6. 

Jets forward Brad Fearnley spun out of a tackle and carried two defenders with him to score underneath the posts in the 26th minute. Puru converted from in front to extend his sides lead to 22-6.  

Winger Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega scored a sensational try for Blacktown with just under five minutes to play in the first half. Vaega tip-toed along the sideline after pushing past two tackles and dived over to ground the ball, practically over the sideline as he did so to bring the score back to 22-10. 

The half ended with an intense scramble that covered 80 metres of the field. Blacktown had the ball at Newtown’s tryline as the siren sounded. Instincts kicked in and whoever had the ball did whatever they could do to keep it alive, finding Latu Fainu.

He stepped and attempted to break through, only for the ball to end in the hands of the Jets’ Mansour at the 40-metre line. He passed to Stonestreet who put a kick downfield and from there it was a footrace. The ball travelled 40 metres downfield to the Sea Eagles 20-metre line where Vaega dived on it, taking it over the sideline to conclude an entertaining first half.  

Blacktown kicked off the second half with high pressure at Newtown’s line. Latu Fainu showed his skill with boot-to-ball as he forced drop-outs in back-to-back sets with perfectly placed grubber kicks to both corners. 

Utility Nathaniel Roache broke out of dummy half and forced his way through the defenders to ground the ball for his side’s third try in the 49th minute. Earlier in the set, Fletcher Myers turned on the jets with a barnstorming 40-metre run down the right edge to propel the side downfield. Humphreys converted from next to the posts to bring the score back within a converted try at 22-16. 

Kyle Pickering thought he’d scored for the Jets after crashing over the tryline in the 62nd minute, only for the referee to rule that he knocked it on while doing so. Pickering was penalised for dissent in the moments that followed as the Sea Eagles surged downfield, forcing a drop-out at the end of their set to keep the pressure on the away side. Despite this, Blacktown were unable to level the scores as they dropped the ball down the left edge, bringing a halt to the momentum. 

With two minutes to play and the game on the line, Ben Condon scored for the Sea Eagles in astounding fashion. Captain Gordon Chan Kum Tong was first receiver out of the ruck and faked left, only to cut back inside to a flying Condon. The front-rower found a gap in the line and pushed through to crash over next to the posts. Humphreys converted to level the scores at 22-all. 

Newtown attempted a short kick-off which was taken safely by Jackson Ferris. The side pushed downfield and surged down the left sideline, hoping to find points to steal the victory.

With 14 seconds to play, Ferris was taken high next to the sideline on the 30-metre line. Myers stepped up to take the shot at two points, to no avail.

The attempt hit the left upright and bounced down into the hands of a Jets player who was tackled, with the game ending in a draw. 

Blacktown head to the nation’s capital to take on the Raiders in Round 12 of the NSW Cup on Sunday May 21 at 1.50pm, at GIO Stadium.