Image: Mario Facchini, mafphotography
Image: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Flashback Friday – Newtown v Norths 1976 Brawl

Each week, thanks to Schofield King Lawyers, we bring you a story from our rich history.

It was a night where tempers flared and fists flew but video ultimately ruled the roost.

It was 12 May 1976 and Newtown was squaring off with fellow foundation club North Sydney at a sodden Leichhardt Oval in a midweek Amco Cup fixture.

With both teams anchored to the bottom of the premiership table after eight rounds, the AMCO Cup was shaping up as the only way either one of them would see any silverware that season, so a win in the knock-out competition was vitally important.

Despite the high stakes, most of the match was nothing much to write home about, with poor handling from Newtown and expert hooking from British Bear John Gray allowing North Sydney to dominate proceedings. However, the real action came midway through the final quarter when a vicious brawl broke out.

It all started when a North Sydney defender attempted a swinging arm on Newtown replacement Paul Johnson as the latter attempted to go to ground with the ball. Newtown hooker Ron Turner flew in to defend Johnson, which in turn sparked a donnybrook that even Muhammad Ali would have been reluctant to enter.

Former Jets half and Golden Gloves boxer Paul Hayward was particularly prominent in the brawl, going toe-to-toe with Gray who, despite hailing from Warwickshire, showed that he was more than capable of performing a Liverpool Kiss. 

“Well, it was certainly a bit more exciting than the Sound of Music,” remarked commentator Ray Warren, who didn’t seem to be particularly perturbed by the violence unfolding in front of him.

When the dust had settled, three players had been sent from the field, North Sydney’s Neville Makin for an alleged punch as well as Hayward and Newtown centre Mark Wright who were charged with kicking and punching.

Watch it here

That wasn’t the end of the story though. Three more players were also cited after league officials reviewed the tape post-game in what was the first instance of video being used to punish players for poor on-field behaviour.

Oh, and for the record, Norths won the match 19-7.

Schofield King Lawyers has spent the last decade representing underdogs against insurance companies and big businesses. For legal advice about your compensation claim, visit https://sklegal.com.au/

Hard-running centre Nene Macdonald played on numerous occasions for the Newtown Jets in 2021.  Last Sunday Nene was playing for Papua-New Guinea against the Cook Islands in the 2023 Pacific Championships - Pacific Bowl and he scored four tries. (Photo: Mike Magee).

Information about 2024 Newtown RLFC memberships; Newtown Jets playing in the 2023 Pacific Championship Series; and a reminder about Newtown RLFC merchandise.

Kyle Pickering and Daniel Atkinson, Italian rugby league representative team, 7th October 2023 (NSWRL Twitter) crop

These Newtown Jets players have gained selection in various end of season representative rugby league teams

Newtown Jets 2023 Presentation Night bottom image for web post

The Newtown Jets RLFC held its Annual Presentation Dinner on the evening of Friday, 29th September 2023 at the Petersham RSL Club.

Newtown Jets left-edge backrower Kyle Pickering (in possession) about to score at Henson Park on Saturday, 22nd July 2023. Jets fullback Manaia Waitere salutes the crowd after playing a clever role in setting up the try. (Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography)

Newtown RLFC 2023 Presentation Dinner Details

July 22, 2023 - Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia, Kyle Pickering of the Newtown Jets scores his second try of the game during Round 21 of the NSWRL Knock On Effect NSW Cup at Henson Park in Marrickville, New South Wales. (Mario Facchini/mafphotography)

Newtown RLFC 2023 Presentation Night Details

Sunday Sun 603

The Other Premiers of 1943

Australian Mutual Bank
Front of Jersey

Petersham RSL
Back of Jersey

Deicorp
Back of Jersey, Training Gear, Socks

Invisi-Gard
Jersey Minor

John Singleton Group
Sleeve

Schofield King Lawyers
Sleeve

Coverforce
Front of Shorts

The Henson
Back of Shorts

Sydney Park Hotel
Back of Shorts

Sports Medicine Institute
Medical Services & Rehabilitation

Label Plus
Major Sponsor

Arista Technologies
Technology Partner

Newtown Jets respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the Land and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on and that the land area encompassing Henson Park traditionally belonged to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.