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Sunday 6th Oct
1:35pm
ANZ Stadium

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Image: mafphotography
Image: mafphotography

Throwback Thursday: Bluebags Dethrone The King

Each week thanks to Cryo, we look back at a significant moment in our rich history. Today, we remember the night we beat Queensland’s best.

BLUEBAGS DETHRONE THE KING

Ahead of this weekend’s clash with Intrust Super Cup Premiers, the Burleigh Bears, we look back at an evening 38-years-ago when the Jets flew north to Queensland and conquered rugby league royalty.

People of a certain age fondly remember the Midweek Cup under its various guises, Amco Cup, Tooth Cup, KB Cup, National Panasonic Cup and finally the Panasonic Cup. The midweek competition pitting Sydney Premiership teams against representative sides from all parts of Australasia was a staple of TV programming during the 1970s and 1980s.

On the evening of 29 April 1981, the Newtown Jets arrived at Lang Park for the opening game of their Tooth Cup campaign. Their opponents that evening were Combined Brisbane, a representative team made up of the best 13 players from across the Brisbane Rugby League competition.

The home side included three future immortals – Arthur Beetson, Mal Meninga and Wally Lewis. In addition, there were current or future Queensland State of Origin players the likes of Joe Kilroy, Brad Backer, Chris Close, Greg Oliphant, Bryan Niebling and Greg Dowling. Newtown’s team featured five players who would later play for New South Wales – Steve Bowden, John Ferguson, Brian Hetherington, Barry Jensen and Phil Sigsworth. But at the time, none had achieved these honours.

The drama started for Newtown before they’d even arrived in Brisbane. On the morning of the game, the players flew to Brisbane on a DC-3 passenger plane approaching the end of its service. The rickety old plane flew threw an electrical storm. Several players were violently ill as a result of the turbulence.    

Despite their underdog status, the Jets came out firing early with a nice backline try to Brian Hetherington giving them a 5-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. They further extended this lead early in the second quarter when John Ferguson, Ray Blacklock and Phil Sigsworth orchestrated a 75 metre try for fullback Mick Pobjie. Newtown weren’t done with their spectacular tries though, with a mesmerising run from Ferguson and brilliant support play from Graeme O’Grady laying on a try for Steve Blyth minutes later.

Leading 11-2, Newtown looked to be cruising, but then Brisbane’s big guns came to life. Midway through the second quarter, Greg Oliphant’s long pass found Chris Close out wide, with the Queensland Origin centre using a potent mix of speed and strength to barge over. Next to cross was Lewis who scored after winning the race to his own bomb and with Meninga converting both tries, the Queenslanders took a 12-11 lead into the half-time break.

Skipper Ken Wilson got the Jets back in the lead 13-11 when he nailed a penalty goal two minutes after the resumption, while Sigsworth added the Blues’ fourth try when he scored from dummy-half in the 48th minute. Newtown ultimately sealed the game midway through the third quarter when Mick Pittman completed another left-side raid to give them a 23-12 lead.

To their credit, Brisbane fought hard to the end and added a penalty goal and the last try of the game, scored by Norm Carr, to make the final scoreline 23-19 in favour of Newtown. The result – like the Midweek Cup itself – is often overlooked in the modern era but it deserves a greater appreciation. The Jets defeated a virtual Queensland State of Origin team at Lang Park having travelled to Brisbane the day of the match.

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On 6th October 2019 at ANZ Stadium, the Newtown Jets defeated Burleigh Bears 20-16 in the NRL State Championship Final. This win effectively made Newtown the best club team (outside of the NRL competition) in Australia, New Zealand and Papua-New Guinea. Newtown centre Jackson Ferris (with the ball) is shown sprinting away for the winning try with less than ten seconds of regular time left to play, having seized upon a pin-point short kick by his team-mate Billy Magoulias. Newtown had trailed 10-2 at half-time and 16-14 going into the last ten seconds of the match. Photo: Michael Magee Photography

Newtown Jets celebrate one of the greatest years in their long history

Newtown’s rugged back-rower Daniel Vasquez was in full voice when he led his Jets team-mates in a victory chorus at the Mayoral Civic Reception, held at the Petersham RSL Club on the evening of the 9th October 2019. Photo: Michael Magee Photography

Reminder: RSVP for the Newtown Jets Victories Dinner and Presentation Night by Friday, 22nd November 2019

Newtown winger Ray Preston (with the ball) breaks clear in a match against South Sydney at the SCG in 1955. Newtown’s captain-coach Dick Poole is in the background. Photo: Supplied by Terry Williams.

Vale Ray Preston

Newtown’s captains Jack A. Williams (left) and Scott Sorensen (right) proudly hold aloft the two major trophies won in the club’s truly remarkable 2019 season – the Canterbury Cup NSW premiership trophy (left) and the NRL State Championship Trophy (right). This photo was taken at the Mayoral Civic Reception held at the Petersham RSL Club on the evening of Wednesday, 9th October 2019. Photo: Michael Magee Photography.

THE 2019 NEWTOWN JETS VICTORIES DINNER AND PRESENTATION NIGHT

Newtown Jets winger Sione Katoa scores his second try just five minutes out from full-time at ANZ Stadium last Sunday. Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Jets claim national title with a sensational try in the game’s final seconds

Newtown Jets dynamic second-rower Scott Sorensen scores (off a perfectly-placed kick by Billy Magoulias) in the first half in last Sunday’s Canterbury Cup NSW Grand Final against Wentworthville, played at Bankwest Stadium. Photo:  Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Jets are fully primed for tilt at State Championship honours

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