It was late heartbreak for a determined reserve grade Newcastle Knights side at Hunter Stadium on Saturday as they went down 22-19 to the Newtown Jets.
While the Knights led for much of the game, the Jets came up with a try in the final three minutes to win it.
It was a solid start to the game for the Knights, Jaelen Feeney slicing through Newtown’s defence in the 6th minute to score. Bryce Donovan slotted the conversion, but several minutes later it looked as though the visitors could get on the board when halfback Arana Taumata broke through the line 20 metres out. He lost possession of the ball sliding over the line though, and the Knights got out of jail.
There was no stopping the Jets in the 16th minute though, as centre Kurt Capewell ducked out of several tackles to get over the line. He converted to make the score 6-6, and then 11 minutes later Kenny Niko performed a similar routine as Kapewell on the right edge to score.
The Knights kept persisting in attack though, and eight minutes before half time the payoff came when Tyme Dow-Nikau used some nice footwork to break through the line and score. Donovan converted to make the score 12-12, and then second before half time punted the ball over for a field goal.
Newtown came out firing in the second half though, and three minutes in fullback Jaline Graham ran the ball over untouched. Capewell converted to make the score 18-13, but five minutes later the Knights returned serve via a Ken Tofilau try in the left corner. Krys Freeman did well to convert from the sideline to put the Knights back into the lead.
With 12 minutes left on the clock Jets five-eighth Josh Cleeland put in a grubber that deflected off a defender’s foot and fell back into his arms as he was crossing over the try-line. Knights centre Ryan Walker did a superb job to strip him of the ball before he could ground it though, and the home side preserved their lead.
Three minutes from time it was heartbreak for the Knights though, as Graham ran the ball out wide and then threaded Lachlan Stein through for a try. Capewell missed the conversion, but the final score remained 22-19 to the Newtown Jets.
Newcastle Knights 19 (T: Feeney, Dow Nikau, Tofilau G: Donovan 2/2, Freeman 1/1, FG: Donovan 1/1)
Newtown Jets 22 (T: Capewell, Niko, Graham, Stein, G: Capewell 3/4)
3. Ryan Walker, 2. Ken Tofilau, 12. Tom Hughes, 4. Tyme Dow-Nikau, 1. Bryce Donovan, 6. Jaelen Feeney, 7. Will Pearsall, 8. Uiti Baker, 9. Krys Freeman, 19. David Bhana, 18. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 20. Pat Mata'utia, 13. Braden Robson. Interchange: 10. Luke Yates (c), 11. Ben Stone, 16. Bradie Smith, 17. Sam Bernstrom.
1. Jaline Graham, 2. Travis Robinson, 3. Kurt Capewell, 15. Lachlan Stein, 5 Jacob Gagan, 6. Josh Cleeland, 7. Arana Taumata, 8. Junior Roqica, 13. Kurt Kara, 10. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 11. Malakai Houma, 12 Jason Schirnack, 14 Kurt Dillon. Interchange: 16. Harrison Muller, 17. Saulala Houma, 18. Corin Smith, 21. Kenny Niko.