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Tom Raudonikis celebrates after scoring a try in the 1981 NSWRL Grand Final (colourised by thefootydog@mail.com)
Tom Raudonikis celebrates after scoring a try in the 1981 NSWRL Grand Final (colourised by thefootydog@mail.com)

Remembering forty years ago ….

Today, 27th September 2021, marks exactly forty years since Newtown and Parramatta faced off in the 1981 NSWRL First Grade Grand Final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

It is an occasion of mixed feelings for many thousands of Newtown Jets supporters. There was the profound disappointment of losing the game narrowly, but no doubt many more fans took great pride in Newtown reaching the Grand Final for the first time since 1955 after such a thrilling progression through the qualifying games.

The club planned to recognise the 40th anniversary by way of a special 1981 team dinner, and of course the 1981 playing group would have been honoured at this year’s Newtown Jets Reunion Day at Henson Park.

As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to the remainder of the 2021 NSW Cup season and also to any plans for any special events to honour the 1981 Newtown Jets Grand Finalists.

The club now intends to pay tribute to the 1981 Jets players and staff by way of individual letters thanking them for their service and for such massive efforts in that memorable season.

Bearing in mind the despair associated with Newtown’s first grade seasons between 1976 and 1978, followed by the ascent of the Jets up the premiership table in 1979 and 1980 and then the glorious run of victories into the 1981 Grand Final – all made that 1981 season and the Grand Final appearance of forty years ago exceptional moments in our club history.

To say that the Newtown Rugby League Football Club has had a chequered history since 1908 is somewhat of an understatement. Let us remember then on this day, forty years on from the 27th September 1981, what was a day of enormous pride and achievement for our club, the oldest Rugby League club in Australia.

Phil Gould at the SCG in 1981 (Rugby League Week)

The strain shows on Kayal Iro’s face as he beats the desperate dive of North Sydney defender Vuate Karawalevu. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Jets late points surge overpowers the Bears

Image: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Newtown Jets Team List v North Sydney Bears Sun 8th May, 2022

The splendid Franklin Pele bursts through the Penrith defensive line, with team-mates (from the left) Tyler Slade, Kade Dykes and Jayden Berrell in the background. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Jets in rugged showdown with the competition front-runners

Image: mafphotography

Newtown Jets Team List v Penrith Panthers Sat 30th April, 2022

Newtown back-rower Reubenn Rennie strives to break free of the Sea Eagles defence on Saturday. Photo: Mario Facchini/mafphotography

Jets commanding finish sees off Sea Eagles’ spirited challenge

Image: MAF Photography

Newtown Jets Team List v Sea Eagles Sat 23rd April, 2022

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