NSW Cup Match Report: Mounties make it 7 from 7
Mounties have kept their perfect opening to the 2015 season rolling with a 24-8 victory over the Newtown Jets on Saturday at Henson Oval.
Both teams formed a guard of honour before the commencement of the game in commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of Gallipoli and a healthy crowd gathered to watch on as the last post resonated throughout the ground.
The opening minutes of the game saw both teams try and settle into their rhythm with Mounties having the better of the opening exchanges and in the 6th minute Josh McCrone laid on a pass for Patrick Mago however the pass was put down near the line and the Jets rucked it out.
A few minutes later Mounties were attacking again with a grubber by Bill Tupou on the last tackle finding its way over the dead ball line and from there the play went end to end with Jeremy Hawkins and Mitch Cronin making plenty in inroads into the Jets line.
In the 15th minute it was Hawkins and Tupou who again caused trouble for the Jets defence and off the back of their work Cronin latched onto a long pass from Mitch Cornish and crossed in the SE corner and with the conversion by Cornish from the sideline Mounties led 6-0.
Mounties then went on the attack again but in the 28th minute a pushed pass saw Newtown on the attack and they crossed at the end of the ensuing set through Wells to make it 6-4 with the conversion by Gardner going across the face of goals.
Play then went end to end again with Mounties having a few chances only to see the last pass go astray but Newtown had the final say and they looked likely to score in the NE corner only for Mitch Cronin to make a classic tackle and force the Jets attack into touch and at the half time break the score remained 6-4 in favour of Mounties.
The second half was less than a minute old when Mounties were dealt a blow with utility Mitch Beggs stretchered off with concussion and a suspected neck injury and on the next set Hawkins made a break and set Mounties on the attack again only to see the kick on the last go over the dead ball line.
In the 46th minute Hawkins cut the defence open again and passed to Tupou but a Jets hand saved the try and Mounties had a scrum 10 metres out.
Newtown's defence was up to the task and after halting Mounties attack they made an error in their own red zone and from the scrum Hawkins opened them up and crossed in the NE corner to make it 10-4 after the conversion missed.
Both teams then traded sets for the next 10 minutes with neither giving up much and in the 62nd minute it was a short kick from the Jets half Murphy which broke the stalemate when a second kick bounced into the arms of Blake Ayshford to score in the SW corner with the conversion going wide again Mounties held the lead 10-8.
Mounties then survived another attack with the Jets sending the ball wide to find some space on the left edge but they ran into touch and the pressure was off Mounties for the time being.
In the 70th minute it looked as though Mounties had scored again when Josh McCrone put in a nice kick for Hawkins who pounced only to be held up and dragged over the dead ball line by Nathan Gardner.
Two minutes later though it was McCrone who all but sealed it for Mounties when he split the defence and raced away 30 metres to plant the ball under the posts to give Cornish an easy conversion for Mounties to lead 16-8.
Play then bogged down in the middle of the park with both teams turning over possession several times and it only served to wind down the clock much to the anger of the Jets fans but it was Mounties who again came out on top when Jack Ahearn powered over in the 78th minute near the posts and with the Cornish conversion and at 22-8 it was game over with only minutes on the clock.
The final score ended up at 24-8 after a penalty in the last seconds of play saw Mitch Cornish slot the goal.
For Mounties, Kyle O'Donnell had a big game on his return from injury and was assisted by Glen Buttriss who got through a huge amount of work as did Sam Duggan who tackled everything in sight.
Out wide Mitch Cronin was impressive, Jeremy Hawkins was dangerous every time he touched the ball with Bill Tupou and Gus Aiga doing a great job of rolling the team down field.
In the Ron Massey Cup, Mounties also kept their perfect start to the season intact with a Wayne Dargan double giving them a hard fought 26-18 win over fellow competition leaders Asquith.
In the Sydney Shield, Mounties defensive worries continued when they allowed Asquith to score several soft tries, a late come back couldn't bridge the gap with the team going down 28-26.
Mounties 24 (J Ahearn, J Hawkins, M Cronin, J McCrone tries; M Cornish 4 goals) bt Newtown Jets 8 (D Wells, B Ayshford tries)