Jets scramble to take NSW Cup
2012 NSW Cup Grand final
Balmain Ryde-Eastwood no. 9 Masada Iosefa takes it up against Newtown Jets during the 2012 NSW Cup Grand Final. Photo: Brendan Esposito
The Newtown Jets avenged the disappointment of past NSW Cup failures, holding off a resurgent Tigers outfit to win the NSW Cup.
The Jets, who last won a first grade premiership in 1943, survived a late attacking onslaught from Balmain Ryde-Eastwood to hold on to a 22-18 victory.
The Jets aren't strangers to grand final day, having left ANZ Stadium empty handed on a couple of occasions in recent years.
Honoured ... Daniel Mortimer. Photo: Getty Images
In 2006 they suffered a 20-19 loss in golden-point extra-time against Parramatta, before suffering the same fate in a 104-minute marathon against Wentworthville in 2008.
Halfback and skipper, Daniel Mortimer, admitted the match could have gone into extra-time if the Tigers had a couple more minutes to salvage a result.
"It was the toughest game I've played in a while," Mortimer said.
"Another couple of minutes and they probably would have had us. It was just that tip-for-tat game, but I was just glad the buzzer went when we were in front."
The former Eel said he was honoured to help the historic club add a piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet.
"You hear all the stories all week about how the Newtown board kept fighting, even though they didn't have a team for seven years," he said.
"They kept showing up to meetings in the hope of getting a team back in 1992 and they've had a team in ever since. They haven't won this competition for a long time, so all the Newtown fans who hung in there, they deserve to celebrate as well."
A Mortimer 40-20 provided the Jets with their first attacking opportunity of the match.
The playmaker didn't waste any time injecting himself into the contest, putting his cross-field kick on a platter for winger Daniel Tupou to capitalise and register the first points.
It was all Newtown in the opening exchanges, dominating the battle for field possession as the Tigers struggled to get into the groove of the contest.
The Tigers were guilty of coughing up possession inside their own half and Jack Bosden made them pay, squeezing through some flimsy Tigers defence to take the Jets out to a 12-0 lead.
The Tigers finally got themselves into the game late in the first half when Ava Seumanufagai spun past a couple of Jets defenders to post his side's first points of the afternoon.
Sean Meaney, who missed the simple conversion, made up for his mistake on the stroke of half time, diving on a Nathan Waters grubber to send his side into the sheds trailling 12-10.
The Tigers grabbed their third consecutive four-pointer straight after the break to to hit the lead for the first time in the match, but it was shortlived.
Jets centre Francis Vaiotu crossed out wide to give his side a 16-14 lead heading into the final 25 minutes.
In a see-sawing contest, the Tigers and Jets went try for try, with Newtown holding on to a 22-18 advantage with seven minutes remaining.
Gus Agia squandered a chance to level the scores, failing to ground a Junior Moors grubber that would have given Meaney a chance to win the game with a conversion from the sideline.
NEWTOWN JETS 22 (D Tupou, J Bosden, F Vaiotu, N Seluini tries; D Mortimer 3 goals) bt BALMAIN RYDE-EASTWOOD TIGERS 18 (A Seumanufagai, S Meaney, D Chisholm, J Davis tries; S Meaney goal).