THE Nowra-Bomaderry Jets opened their 2014 campaign in an exciting fashion at Nowra Showground on Saturday night, with a thrilling 28-all draw with the Jamberoo Superoos.
There was a never a dull moment in an action-packed 80 minutes of football, which could have easily gone either way, but in the end they had to settle for sharing the points.
Jamberoo opened the scoring inside the first five minutes when winger Michal Maslanka got a perfect pass from his brother Simon to score in the corner.
It was the first of a number of Superoos tries to go unconverted, which would ultimately prove to play a big part in the final result.
The Jets response was swift, with a knock on from Jamberoo in the in-goal from the kick off, allowing for prop Nick Falzon to score their first try soon after and the conversion from new recruit Ryan James gave them a 6-4 lead.
Some more promising moments in attack followed for the Jets, but they were unable to hold onto the ball at crucial moments.
The Superoos were the next to score on the 15 minute mark and this time it was Simon Maslanka who went over in the right hand corner to put his side back in the lead.
They further extended their lead just a few minutes later, when winger Ben Barnard showed great pace after making a break down the side, to give them great field position.
Barnard was rewarded for his effort on the fifth tackle when a well-placed kick from Jono Dallas landed safely in his arms to score their third try.
But with this try also going unconverted, it left the Jets within striking distance and it wasn’t long before they equaled things up.
Rugby union convert Steve Brandon showed he is just as at home in the 13-man game, when he split the Jamberoo defence to bits in the middle of the field to score under the posts and the conversion leveled it up at 12-all.
Brandon showed his class once again on the half-hour mark, when he weaved his way through to score his second try in a similar fashion to the first to give the Jets the lead.
For a small period it looked like nothing could go right for the Superoos and the home side further added to their woes when Nathan Falzon scored another for the Jets to give them a 22-12 lead.
The Superoos had more problems when Simon Maslanka was sent to the sin bin, but the Jets were unable to take advantage of the one-man overlap.
The visitors finally had something to smile about when their captain Matt Coelho scored just before half time to bring it back to 22-16.
The Jets managed to extend their half time lead to 24-16 through a penalty goal shortly before the break.
While the Jets went into the break with a lot of momentum, they started slowly in the second half and were left vulnerable when Mick Blattner was sent to sin bin 10 minutes into the second half.
Parked down inside their own 20, the Superoos kept the Jets defenders working and for a while it looked like they might be able to hold them out.
But eventually they couldn’t hold out any longer and Coelho went in to score his second near the posts.
The deficit was reduced to just two when the Superoos finally landed their first conversion of the night.
The Superoos finally regained the lead with 10 minutes remaining, when Hooker Josh Saunders went in under the posts from dummy half to give them a 28-24 lead.
After being kept quiet in the points department in the second-half, the Jets finally got back on the board when Ryan James scored an equaliser with six minutes remaining.
While his goalkicking had been near spot on until that point, James was unable to convert his try and the scores stayed level at 28 apiece.
The Superoos had the best shot at coming up with a winner in the dying minutes, but a try-saving tackle from Anthony Atkinson ensured there was no change in the scoreline.
Newcomers Steve Brandon and Ryan James both made good first impressions for the Jets, while Coelho, Jono Dallas and Adam Vanzanten were the best for the visitors.