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Image: mafphotography
Image: mafphotography

Throw Back Thursday – Wok and Wilson Engineer Boilover at Belmore

Each week, thanks to Cryo, we look back at a significant moment in our rich history. Today, Warren Ryan’s selection strategy upsets the defending premiers, Canterbury-Bankstown

WOK AND WILSON ENGINEER BOILOVER AT BELMORE

It was the controversial call that ultimately paid dividends for Newtown coach Warren Ryan.

Leading into Newtown’s round seven clash against Canterbury in 1981 at Belmore Sports Ground, coach Ryan had a tough call to make. After missing the previous two premiership games through injury, club captain and representative halfback, Tommy Raudonikis, was due to return to top grade football. In Raudonikis’ absence, veteran half Ken Wilson and been playing extremely well, guiding the Jets to consecutive wins over Manly and Penrith.

To the shock of many in the league community, Ryan opted to retain Wilson for the clash against the defending premiers and named Raudonikis, who had played for Australia the previous season, in reserve grade. It was a good decision, with Wilson once again playing the role of match winner as Newtown beat Canterbury 24-14. 

With Wilson calling the shots, the Jets fired early, taking a 9-nil lead after 10 minutes. However, a spectacular individual try to Canterbury winger – and Newtown junior – Steve Gearin inspired the Bulldogs, who, by halftime, had drawn level. From that point on though, it was all Newtown, with two tries to flying winger John Ferguson and a 15 point haul to Wilson helping the Blues to their first premiership win over Canterbury since 1974. Even Raudonikis got in on the action, making an impressive 20 minute cameo off the bench during which he managed to daze replacement Neil Baker, who subsequently had to be replaced.

Unsurprisingly, it was Wilson who swept up all the official man-of-the-match awards post game, much to the pleasure (and probably relief) of his coach.

“What he has done for us in the last few games has been fantastic,” Ryan enthused.

“He has averaged 11.3 points a game and you can’t overlook those sorts of figures.”

The win was Newtown’s fourth on the trot, a streak which included a famous win against Wally Lewis’s Combined Brisbane in the Tooth Cup. It was also the Jets’ first top grade win over its blue and white rivals since 1974.

Newtown 24 (John Ferguson 2, Ray Blacklock, Ken Wilson tries; Ken Wilson 6 goals) defeated Canterbury-Bankstown 14 (Steve Gearin 2 tries, 4 goals) at Belmore Sports Ground. Scrums: Newtown 18-9. Penalties: Canterbury-Bankstown 11-4. Referee: Greg Hartley. Crowd: 12, 157.

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Image: MAF Photography

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