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Jets hooker Jayden Berrell displays typical guile and quick-wittedness in scoring Newtown’s first try on Saturday. Photo: Mario Facchini / mafphotography
Jets hooker Jayden Berrell displays typical guile and quick-wittedness in scoring Newtown’s first try on Saturday. Photo: Mario Facchini / mafphotography

Jets are now one place outside of the top five

Newtown’s 32-16 loss to South Sydney at Redfern Oval on Saturday has relegated the Jets to sixth place on the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup competition table.

Both Newtown and the Canberra Raiders are now on 27 points, but the Jets have a more favourable points differential than the National Capital team.

The two clubs play each other at Henson Park this Saturday, 12th August, with the Jets hoping that the atmosphere of the annual players’ reunion and a good home game attendance will give Newtown a critical advantage.

Newtown fielded a very much restructured team against the Rabbitohs, with several key Jets players still on the injured list and with the Cronulla Sharks needing to take extra players for their NRL match in Perth on Saturday evening.

On Saturday the Jets fielded two players making their first competition game appearances for this season in five-eighth Johnny-Lee Gabrael, along with the back-rower Addison Demetriou. Young centre Chris Veaila was on debut for Newtown from the Cronulla Sharks Jersey Flegg squad.

Souths had more NRL playing experience in their team as they entered this game needing to win to claim a place in the competition’s top five.

The early stages of the game were evenly contested until Newtown got on the score-board in the 15th minute through some clever play by the Jets hooker and captain, Jayden Berrell. The Rabbitohs levelled the scores five minutes later, but the wily Berrell claimed his second try following on from good lead-up work by Johnny-Lee Gabrael and powerhouse forward Tuku Hau Tapuha.

Big forward Tuku Hau Tapuha sends a Rabbitohs defender flying as he rampages upfield for the Jets. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Souths returned fire with a converted try just prior to half-time, making the scores 10-all at the break. Newtown’s forwards had matched it with their bigger and more experienced opponents in the first half, but the second half was going to be the proving ground.

The second half began badly for Newtown, with the Rabbitohs scoring a converted try only three minutes into the second forty-minutes. Newtown responded at the 50th minute mark, when the impressive and feisty young fullback Manaia Waitere left two Souths defenders grasping at thin air as he stepped cleverly back inside the onrushing cover defenders. The scores were now locked at 16-all with 30 minutes remaining.

Newtown’s fullback Manaia Waitere turns on the footwork to cut through the Rabbitohs defenders to score on the 50th minute.
Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Souths eventually took the lead 17 minutes from fulltime and added two further tries later in the game to run out winners by 32-16. The Rabbitohs had dominated possession and field position for nearly twenty minutes before taking the lead, but the younger Newtown players had made the match a real contest in that time.

Newtown’s captain Jayden Berrell had turned on an outstanding game, working tirelessly in attack and defence and doing his best to inspire his younger team-mates. He proved his endurance and die-hard competitiveness when he made a long break up the middle of the field almost on full-time.

South Sydney had defended well in the second half and prevented Newtown from adding any further points in the last thirty minutes of the game.

The Jets will be hell bent on winning their last home game of the 2023 season and to stay in touch with the competition’s top five.

Saturday’s home game at Henson Park will feature a special tribute to those Newtown players who won the NSWRL Club Championship award back in 1973 – a remarkable achievement by a small club with far fewer resources than their wealthier NSWRL opponents. The 24th round NSW Cup match against the Canberra Raiders on Saturday, 12th August, kicks off at 3.00pm and will be live-streamed on NSWRL TV (NSWRL Facebook).

Match details:

NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup
23rd Round
Saturday, 5th August 2023
Redfern Oval
South Sydney v Newtown
Kick-off was at 3.00pm.

Playing surface: Excellent.
Weather: Overcast, 15 degrees.

Referee: Kasey Badger
Touch Judges: Mitchell Stone and Dillan Wells.

South Sydney 32:
Izaac Tu’itupou, Blake Taaffe, Dion Teaupa, Ethan O’Neill, Shaquai Mitchell, Tom Carr tries;
Dean Hawkins 4 conversions
Newtown 16:
Jayden Berrell 2, Manaia Waitere tries;
Niwhai Puru 2 conversions.

Half-Time: 10-all.

Jets busy half back Niwhai Puru nails the Rabbitohs dangerman, Blake Taaffe. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

NSW Cup Highlights: South Sydney Rabbitohs v Newtown Jets: Round 23–rabbitohs-v-jets—round-23/

Saturday’s teams: –

Fullback: Manaia Waitere
Wingers: Trentham Petersen, Tom Rodwell
Centres: Jensen Taumoepeau, Chris Vea’ila
Halves: Johnny-Lee Gabrael, Niwhai Puru
Lock: Blake Hosking
Second-Rowers: Kyle Pickering, Tuku Hau Tapuha
Front-Rowers: Kurt Dillon, Rhys Dakin
Hooker: Jayden Berrell (Captain)
Brad Fearnley, Addison Demetriou, Caleb Uele, Samuel Healey
18th Man: Tyler Slade
Coach: George Ndaira.

South Sydney:
Fullback: Blake Taaffe
Wingers: Tom Carr, Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson
Centres: Jacob Gagai, Josiah Karapani
Halves: Dion Teaupa, Dean Hawkins (Captain)
Lock: Shaquai Mitchell
Second-Rowers: Benjamin Lovett, Ethan O’Neill
Front-Rowers: Daniel Suluka-Fifita, Jaxson Rahme
Hooker: Peter Mamouzelos
Brock Gray, Shannon Gardiner, Matt French, Yileen Gordon
18th Man: Leonard Skelton
Coach: Joseph O’Callaghan.

Match Timeline:

Newtown kicked off, running towards the city end of Redfern Oval.
15th minute: Jayden Berrell try.
Not converted. Newtown 4-0.
19th minute: Isaac Tu’itupou try
Not converted. 4-all.
26th minute: Jayden Berrell try.
Converted by Niwhai Puru. Newtown 10-4.
36th minute: Blake Taaffe try.
Converted by Dean Hawkins. 10-all.

Half-Time: 10-all.

42nd minute: Dion Teaupa try
Converted by Dean Hawkins. Souths 16-10.
48th minute: Manaia Waitere try.
Converted by Niwhai Puru. 16-all.
63rd minute: Ethan O’Neill try.
Converted by Dean Hawkins. Souths 22-16.
69th minute: Shaquai Mitchell try.
Converted by Dean Hawkins. Souths 28-16.
73rd minute: Tom Carr try.
Not converted. Souths 32-16.

Full-Time: South Sydney 32 defeated Newtown 16.

Newtown’s next game details:

NSWRL Knock-On Effect NSW Cup
24th Round
Saturday, 12th August 2023
Henson Park
Newtown v Canberra Raiders
Kick-Off: 3.00pm.
This is Newtown’s final home game for the 2023 season and is also the club’s Annual Reunion Day.
The game is being live-streamed on NSWRL TV, on the NSWRL Facebook site ( )

Image: MAF Photography

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Image: MAF Photography

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Newtown's hooker and team captain Jayden Berrell was in top form on Saturday afternoon, setting up two tries in the first half. Photo: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

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Image: MAF Photography

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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.