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Image: mafphotography
Image: mafphotography

Throw Back Thursday – Squeaker Squeezes Steelers

Each week, thanks to Cryo, we look back at a significant moment in our rich history. Today we remember our biggest ever win in the top grade.

SQUEAKER SQUEEZES STEELERS

Six weeks ago in the lead up to the first leg of the 2019 Tom Kirk Cup, we recounted a classic encounter back in 1981 when Newtown ended a 37-year losing streak against St George on their home turf. This week, ahead of the second leg, we revisit Newtown’s first-ever meeting with the club’s other joint-venture partner, the Illawarra Steelers.

After narrowly losing the previous year’s grand final, Newtown had struggled big time during the early stages of 1982. With just two wins from their opening nine games and being the only team to have lost to the Canberra Raiders, the 11th-placed Jets were tipped to struggle against the 13th-placed Steelers, who were coming off the back of a massive 45-0 win over Canberra the previous week. Club captain, Ken “Squeaker” Wilson had been struggling too, bouncing between first and reserve grade for most of the season. 

However, that afternoon both Wilson and the Jets were able to re-assert their class in a 51-0 drubbing of the hapless Steelers.

Jets hooker Jim Walters got the scoring underway when he strolled over from dummy-half after 13 minutes. Lock Graeme O’Grady then got on the board three minutes later, after he played the ball forward close to the Illawarra line.

By halftime, it was 21-0, but the Bluebags weren’t going to rest on their laurels and their second-half scoring spree left the Steelers looking more than a little red-faced. By the time the full-time whistle had blown, Newtown had raced in 10 tries, with three players grabbing doubles, including Walters, fullback Phil Sigsworth and winger John Ferguson. The latter in particular attracted rave reviews from coach Warren Ryan.

“Ferguson has representative class stamped all over him,” Ryan told the press after the game.

“There are not many left wingers who can beat their man as often as Ferguson does, yet he never gets the deserved recognition.”

However, the star of the day was Wilson, who not only repeatedly tore Illawarra to shreds with his organisational play but also nailed 10 goals and a field goal to go along with a fine individual try.

Newtown 51 (J.Ferguson 2, P.Sigsworth 2, J.Walters 2, P.Kelly, A.McMahon, G.O’Grady, K.Wilson tries; Wilson 10 goals, field goal) defeated Illawarra 0 at Henson Park. Referee: Barry Goldsworthy. Scrums: Illawarra 9-8. Penalties: Illawarra 10-9. Attendance: 3782.

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