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Image: mafphotography
Image: mafphotography

Throw Back Thursday – 10,000 Days Between Drinks

Each week, thanks to Cryo, we look back at a significant moment in our rich history. With Sunday’s game away to the Dragons, today we remember the end of a remarkable run of losses at Kogarah Oval.

10,000 DAYS BETWEEN DRINKS

It was the afternoon the Jets slew a monkey that had been sitting on their back for nearly 30 years.

From the mid-1950s, Newtown’s record against St George was one of rugby league’s greatest hoodoos. The Dragons won 33 of 34 games between 1956 and 1972. At Kogarah, their record was even stronger. Going into Round 22, 1981, the last time Newtown had tasted success at Jubilee Oval was on April 3rd, 1954 – the day Eva Petrov defected from the Soviet Embassy in Canberra!

Newtown’s 20-11 victory occurred on August 30th, 1981, some 10,011 days later. What made the win even more noteworthy is that the Jets had achieved victory with just four regular first graders and five players playing making their run-on debut. Long-time Jets fan and current ground announcer at Henson Park, John Lynch was at Kogarah Oval that afternoon and remembers it vividly.

“It was the last game before the semis,” recalls Lynch.

“[Newtown coach] Warren Ryan rested a lot of blokes and while Craig Young was out for the Dragons, they still had a very good side with blokes like Steve Morris, Pat Jarvis and Brian Johnston playing. I remember thinking, ‘Geeze look at this side.’”

Lynch needn’t have worried. With 19-year-old hooker Mark Bugden crossing for a first half double and skipper Tommy Raudonikis in fine form, Newtown led 15-3 at the break, much to the chagrin of the home fans.

“Tommy really stuck it up to them,” Lynch says.

“Everywhere he went he got booed and he thrived on it

“But by halftime the Dragons fans were booing their own team.”

Saints rallied during the second half with Jarvis and Graham Quinn scoring tries to put them within reach. However, a late Jets try and four goals from stand-in kicker Graeme O’Grady guided the Bluebags to victory in what was St George coach Harry Bath’s final game before retiring from coaching.

“It really was a great effort,” Lynch concludes.

“Warren Ryan’s decision to promote five local juniors was a master stroke as they all just clicked

“It really was quite unbelievable how well we played.”

Newtown 20 (Mark Bugden 2, Bill Grech, Mark O’Brien tries; Graeme O’Grady 4 goals) defeated St George 11 (Philip Graham, Pat Jarvis, Graham Quinn tries; George Grant goal) at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah. Scrums: St George 13-3 Penalties: St George 12-8 Referee: Denis Braybrook.

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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.