Newtown v Canterbury: Newtown, New Team
Henson Park, Saturday 5th March, 3:00pm
Listen Live via Steele Sports Radio at www.steelesports.com.au
“We’re looking forward to playing some footy and seeing if all the hard work will pay off dividends,” Jets coach Greg Matterson told NSWRL.com.au. "We just want to start well as do the Bulldogs. Two points now is as important as two points at the back end of the season. We’re expecting a tough game. We have to worry about ourselves and getting it right. Hopefully it pays off.”
The Jets are determined to return to the finals after a two-year absence but they will have their hands full taking on a physical Bulldogs side with plenty of size and skill to match.
“Our defence has to be good to not let them build momentum,” Matterson said. “They have Shaun Lane, Pat O’Hanlon, Makahesi Makatoa, Lloyd Perrett – they’ve got some big men that gain some momentum with their outside backs to capitalise off it. We need to get our defense right.”
One of the Jets’ biggest challenges will be containing the try-scoring machine Tyrone Phillips who impressed at the Auckland Nines tournament following his stellar season as the leading try scorer in 2015.
Undertaking a large turnover in the offseason, the Jets shape as the dark horses of the Intrust Super Premiership loaded with plenty of talent, along with many fans eyeing Arana Taumata lining up at fullback.
“We’re pretty stocked in the spine with Fa’amanu Brown, Josh Cleeland, Matt McIlwrick, and Kurt Kara; Jaline Graham isn’t even in the starting side,” Matterson said. “Our depth is strong. We’re looking for Arana to give us some input from the back and we think he’ll handle it.”
In one of the greatest live game day experiences, the bluebags faithful will make themselves heard at Henson Park.
“That’s not going to help us if we don’t play well,” Matterson said. “The emphasis is on us playing well, completing our sets and putting the Bulldogs under a bit of pressure.”