STEVE Brandon capped off a memorable return from suspension as the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets celebrated a successful return to Bomaderry Sports Complex with a 46-20 win against the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs on Sunday.
The Jets had been without the five-eighth for the past two games, after he was sent off in their last hit out against the Dogs, but he celebrated his return in style by scoring a hat-trick.
At times it looked as if the Bulldogs might add to the Jets woes following their loss to Berry last week, but one-way traffic in the second half made it a convincing win for the home side.
The Dogs got off to a flying start and were keeping up with the clock when they took a 10-nil lead in as many minutes, thanks to tries from Lachlan Moore and Hayden Naylor.
But it was barely two minutes before the Jets got themselves into the game when their halves combined well, with Geoff Johnson passing it on to Steve Brandon, who made it look easy as he ran in to score the Jets first.
Soon after it looked like the Jets might even things up, but they were made to pay when they couldn’t hold onto the ball near the line.
The knock on put the pressure right back on the Jets and the Bulldogs took full advantage, working their way up the field, before Gary Warburton crashed over to make it 16-6.
The Dogs looked in control until the 20th minute, before they were penalised for holding in the tackle, opening the door back up for the Jets.
It was Steve Brandon who did the job for the Jets once again, scoring his second try, which brought them within six when his brother Mark converted.
The Bulldogs poor discipline cost them again when the Jets added two more tries on the back of penalties before the half-time break.
The first one going to Kurt Quinlan to square the ledger, before Ryan James put the Jets in front 20-16, with a try four minutes out from the break.
Both sides came out with plenty of enthusiasm after the break, with the Bulldogs being the first to take advantage, 10 minutes into the second half.
The Dogs evened it up at 20-all when a Luke Young bomb from the left-hand side of the field, was taken by Mitch Simington on the far right, who planted it down for their fourth try.
With the scores locked at 20-all, the turning point in the match came when Jets centre Nathan Falzon was sin binned for dissent.
Playing with a man down seemed to be a blessing in disguise for the Jets, who took complete control of the game in the last 30 minutes.
The Jets hit the lead again around the 60 minute mark, when front rower Zac Kershaw, channeled his inner-centre to crash over in the corner.
Mark Brandon nailed a tricky sideline conversion to make it 26-20 and was back in the action a minute later, scoring a long-range try of his own to make it 32-20.
By this point the Dogs looked unable to defend for six tackles, with the Jets scoring from almost every set as Steve Brandon chalked up his hat-trick, while before Mark scored his second.
The Jets soon came within striking distance of a half-century when fullback Isaac Mumberson crossed to take the score to 46-20.
While the game was well and truly in the bag, the Jets were still hungry for points and looked certain to reach 50 when Steve Brandon found himself in open space.
Brandon was close to crossing for his fourth before passing to Geoff Johnson, who looked almost certain to score another for the Jets.
Johnson instead decided to try and do front rower Mick Blattner a favour, by giving him the chance to score the try.
The sight of Blattner about to cross the line must have given the Bulldogs the spark they needed, as they produced arguably their best bit of defence in the entire second half to deny him.
Try as they might, the Jets could not add to their total in the last few minutes and the score remained 46-20 at the final whistle.
Steve and Mark Brandon were standouts for the Jets, along with Ryan James and Zac Kershaw, while Luke Young, Gary Warburton and Lachlan Moore did all they could for the visitors.