Newtown Jets

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Newtown Jets
Newton Jets Logo.png
Club information
Full name Newtown District Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) Bluebags
Colours Newtown colours.svg
Founded 8 January 1908 (foundation club)
Current details
Coach Greg Matterson
Competition New South Wales Cup
2014 Season 9th
Home jersey
Home colours
Premierships 3 (1910, 1933, 1943)
Runners-up 7 (1913, 1914, 1929, 1944, 1954, 1955, 1981)
Minor premiership 6 (1910, 1933, 1943, 1944, 1954, 1955)

The Newtown Jets are an Australian rugby league football club based in Newtown, a suburb of Sydney's inner west. They currently compete in the New South Wales Cup competition, having left the top grade after the 1983 NSWRFL season. The Jets' home ground is Henson Park, and their team colours are blue (traditionally royal blue) and white.

Established in 1908, Newtown were one of the founding members of the New South Wales Rugby Football League. They competed continuously in the NSWRFL premiership until their departure in 1983, the first reduction in the League since 1937. Over this period they won the competition three times.


The club was founded on 8 January 1908 at a public meeting held at Newtown Town Hall that had been convened by the prominent Sydney sportsman James J. Giltinan (after whom the NSW Rugby League Premiership shield is named), local MP Henry Hoyle, and Harry Hamill (1879-1947), who was to be the fledgling club's first captain.

This made Newtown the second rugby league football club in Australia and the oldest now in existence. The second club, Glebe, was formed on 9 January 1908. When the 'Dirty Reds' (Glebe) were controversially excluded from the NSWRL Premiership in 1929, Newtown became the oldest Australian club.

There is some argument however over whether or not Newtown was actually the first Rugby league club in Australia, formed on 8 January 1908 (one day earlier than Glebe). The club's website stands by this claim,[1] however other sources, most notably Terry Williams' book Out of the Blue: The History of Newtown RLFC, dispute this claim.[2] Rugby league historian Sean Fagan similarly holds that the date of 14 January 1908 is the correct foundation day. The minutes of the original meeting held by Newtown's Board shows the date as 8 January.[citation needed]

Newtown (left captained by Frank Farrell), lines up with Norths before the 1943 Grand final

Newtown played in the NSWRFL Premiership from 1908–83. They won the 1910 NSWRFL Premiership after drawing the final was enough to see them win due to being minor premiers.[3] A Newtown winger, Jack Scott, was the first to score a try in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership.

Dick Poole in action 1954

Known as the "Newtown Bluebags" for most of its lifetime, the club adopted the Jets nickname in 1973, perhaps referring to Newtown's catchment area extending to Sydney Airport. Or perhaps due to the close proximity of the club's home ground, Henson Park, to the major east/west flight path for the airport.

The club won premierships in 1910, 1933 and 1943, and finished second in 1913, 1914, 1929, 1944, 1954–55 and 1981.

Jack Gibson took over as Newtown coach in 1973. Gibson picked his team solely on form, irrespective of seniority. The great Brian Moore had been relegated to the reserves bench throughout the preliminary rounds of the Wills Cup tournament, and youngsters like Ian Satori, Dennis Gardiner, Peter Parry and Warren Snodgrass were all given a chance in the top grade. The Newtown side for the final was:

Barry Cox, Mark Cohen, Dave Oliveri, John Bonham, John Bradstock, Ken Wilson, Des O'Connor (c), Neil Pringle, Gary Sullivan, Peter Parry, Tom Melville, Mark Robertson and Dennis Gardiner.

The St. George line up was:

Graeme Langlands, Geoff Carr, Ted Goodwin, Bob Clapham, John Chapman, Tony Branson, M. Shulman, Lindsay Drake, Peter Fitzgerald, Rod Reddy, Inisai Toga, Colin Rasmussen, and Harry Eden.

The Wills Cup Final was played under floodlights at the old Sydney Sports Ground on St Patricks day before a crowd of 13,180. At half time St George were up 15-2 and looked certain to win. In the second half the Newtown forward pack gave the Saints a taste of their own medicine which helped gain tries for Melville and Robertson, both converted by Ken Wilson which reduced the St George lead to 15-12. Brian Moore brought on at half time, scored the final try, converted by Ken Wilson which sealed victory for Newtown in the last minute, making the game one of the most exciting comeback wins in Rugby League history.

The 1981 Newtown team, which played in the club's last NSWRL premiership grand final, included the legends of game Tommy Raudonikis and Phil Gould. It was coached by Warren Ryan.

Ejection from the Premiership[edit]

Financial pressures forced the team out of the NSWRL Premiership at the end of 1983. The club continued to seek readmission, pursuing various different alternatives. One such alternative, proposed for the 1985 season (after a planned one-year sojourn from the League) involved a full relocation to Orana Park, at Campbelltown in south/west Sydney, and during this period the club was being run by their loyal stalwart and CEO, Frank Farrington.

This plan involved a name change for the club, to the Newtown-Campbelltown Jets. The proposal, including a new logo with the new name on the traditional royal blue jersey, was approved by the football club directors. In the end these plans fell through, as the economic recession of the early 1980s prevented the club from finding a suitable buyer of the Newtown Leagues Club, on Stanmore Road, Stanmore.

This left the Jets out of the premier Australian Rugby league competitions. In 1988 the Jets were able to sell their clubhouse, now the Cyprus Community Club of NSW,[4] but by then time had elapsed and readmission to the top competition was not considered.

It is worth noting, however, that for a short time in their final season of 1983, the Jets called Campbelltown home. As a show of commitment to the Campbelltown- Liverpool area, with a new junior league structure ready to be implemented at the Jets' instigation for the 1984 season, Newtown played six home games of the club's final season, at Orana Park in Campbelltown, including an opening round blockbuster against 1981-82 premiers Parramatta Eels, won 54-14 by a rampant Eels combination.

Ultimately, when the final deal between Newtown and the Campbelltown- Liverpool junior rugby league fell through in 1984 and it was confirmed by 1985 that Newtown would not be returning to top flight competition, the Ashfield/Lidcombe-based Western Suburbs Magpies, suspended by the League at the same time as Newtown but having had the financial resources to earn a stay of execution, negotiated a deal for the 1987 season whereby Wests would move all home games to Campbelltown and claim ownership of the vast junior league in south-western Sydney.

Newtown District Junior Rugby League[edit]

The Newtown District Junior Rugby League (NDJRL) competition ended after the ejection of the club from the NSWRL premiership in 1983. The NDJRL was absorbed mainly into the South Sydney District Junior Rugby Football League and also a small part into the St George and Canterbury-Bankstown districts.

Existing junior clubs that were formerly part of the Newtown district include;

  • Camperdown Dragons Balmain colours.svg (now in South Sydney)
  • Marrickville RSL Newtown colours.svg (now in South Sydney)
  • Earlwood Saints St. George colours.svg (now in St George)
  • Christian Brothers Lewisham Norths Devils colours.svg (now only compete in school competitions)

Some extinct Newtown junior clubs include;

  • St Peters Newcastle colours.svg
  • Newtown Hawks Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg
  • Tempe Iona Warriors Western Suburbs colours.svg
  • Addison Royals (Addison Road Sports Club) Eastern Suburbs colours.svg
  • Henson Park Colts South Sydney colours.svg
  • De La Salle Petersham Canberra colours.svg
  • Koorie United
  • Petersham RSL
  • Newtown Waratahs
  • Enmore CYO
  • St Anthony's, Newtown
  • Erskineville United
  • St Thomas's
  • Newtown Police Boys' Club (folded to become Newtown Hawks)
  • St Brigid's De La Salle (Marrickville)
  • Hurlstone Park
  • Earlwood Rebels
  • Enmore United
  • Marrickville Rebels
  • Marrickville Bulldogs
  • Sydenham United
  • Camdenville

Some notable Newtown juniors include;


The club re-emerged in 1990 to play in the third-tier NSW competition, the Metropolitan Cup, winning the title 4 times (1992, 1995, 1996 & 1997). The club no longer enters a team in the NSWRL Jim Beam Cup due to it announcing in the off-season after the 2006 season of the NSWRL Jim Beam Cup that it would now only concentrate on the Premier League Side. The coach during 1990-1991-1992 was Brian 'Wacka' Wakefield.

In 2000, Newtown entered a team in the NSWRL Premier League, the second-tier NSW competition to the NRL. While a stand-alone club for many purposes, they have acted as a feeder for NRL teams such as South Sydney, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Auckland, Sydney Rooster (until the end of the 2014 season), and as of the start of the 2015 season with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

Attendances at Henson Park are the highest in the NSWRL Premier League.[citation needed] Their attendance is always announced as being 8,972 - this is said in jest over the tannoy and is a tribute to their final premiership attendance in 1983.

In 2006, Newtown lost to the Parramatta Eels 20-19 in extra time in the Premier League Grand Final due to a field goal from Eels halfback Marcus Perenara after three minutes of golden point extra time. 2006 was also Newtown's most successful Season in the NSWRL Premier League to date.

In 2007, history was created when they did not wear the royal blue jersey during a match with the Auckland Lions. Neither side had a clash jersey, and as the Jets were the visiting side they were forced to wear Sydney Roosters away jerseys. For 100 years prior to that game, the Jets had never failed to wear their royal blue jerseys. The Club had a less fortunate season compared to 2006, failing to make the Finals or even make the Top 10.[6]

On 20 August 2007, a film depicting the club, The Final Winter starring and written by former Sydney rugby league footballer Matt Nable was released in cinemas across Australia.

In 2008, Newtown again made the Grand Final of the newly formed New South Wales Cup. In an extraordinary game against the Wentworthville Magpies, the Jets scored first and led 8-4 at half time. At full-time scores were locked at 8-8, again forcing the game into extra time, an ironic repeat of the 2006 decider. Finally after 24 minutes of extra time and dozens of attempts at field goals from both teams, Captain Sean Rudder erred in kicking out on the full. This gave the Magpies good field position and allowed them to score the winning try in the corner. After the longest ever grand final match, Wentworthville won 12-8.

On 5 February 2011, The Jets played a trial game against long term rivals, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, at a revamped Redfern Oval. South Sydney won 10-4.[citation needed]

In 2012, Newtown just made the finals, finishing the regular season in 7th spot, but reached a Grand Final against the 8th placed Balmain Ryde-Eastwood Tigers. Newtown got to a 12-0 lead before Balmain came back to bring the scoreline back to 12-10 at the break. The lead changed four times in the second half before Newtown ended up winning the match 22-18. This marks the first premiership won by Newtown in the NSW Cup since 1974, breaking a 38-year drought.[citation needed]

Newtown Leagues Club[edit]

After the sale of the Newtown Leagues Club premises on Stanmore Road, the Jets The Bowling Club and entered into a commercial relationship with the Cooks River Bowling Club on Holbeach Ave, Tempe. From 1989, the club was renamed the Jets Sports Club. It was closed due to poor trading in August 2013.


Current squad[edit]

2014 Newtown Jets Squad
First team squad Coaching staff

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Team of the century[edit]

In 2008, the centenary year of rugby league in Australia, the Newtown Jets club named an 18-man team of the century:

Coach: Warren Ryan

Coaching register[edit]

Honours and records[edit]


  • Premierships (3): 1910, 1933, 1943.
  • Runners-up (7): 1913, 1914, 1929, 1944, 1954 1955, 1981.
  • Reserve Grade (6): 1922, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1970, 1974.
  • President's Cup (5): 1919, 1921, 1928, 1944, 1950.
  • Club Championship: 1973.
  • Preseason Competition: 1973.
  • City Cup: 1937, 1942.
  • State Championship: 1941, 1945.
  • Metropolitan Cup: 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997.
  • NSW Cup: 2012
  • Biggest wins:
    • 51-0 v Illawarra at Henson Park, 2 May 1982
    • 55-7 v St George at SCG, 26 Aug 1944
    • 48-3 v University at Henson Park, 12 May 1937
    • 52-7 v St George at SCG, 3 Jun 1944
    • 50-6 v Manly at SCG, 13 Jun 1955
    • 54-6 v Wentworthville at Henson Park, 11 June 2016
  • Biggest defeats:
    • 65-9 v St George at Kogarah Oval, 30 Jul 1961
    • 57-6 v Manly at Henson Park, 16 May 1976
    • 54-4 v Parramatta at Belmore Oval, 5 Jun 1983
    • 50-2 v Manly at Brookvale Oval, 14 Aug 1977
    • 54-10 v St George at Kogarah Oval, 24 Jul 1960
    • 44-0 v Cronulla at Endeavour Field, 23 Jul 1978
    • 62-18 v Parramatta at Henson Park, 20 Aug 1978
    • 60-6 v Penrith at St Marys Stadium, 25 June 2016


Career records:

Season records:

Match records:

  • Most tries: 6 - Jack Troy v Easts, 8 Jul 1950.
  • Most goals: 11 - Tom Kirk
    • v St George, 3 Jun 1944
    • v St George, 26 Aug 1944.
  • Most points: 25 - Tom Kirk (1T, 11G) v St George, 26 Aug 1944.
  • First Match (in 1908): Lost 16-32 Vs Eastern Suburbs.
  • First Drawn Match (in 1908): 12-12 Vs Balmain (Round 3).
  • First Win (in 1908): Won 16-6 Vs Cumberland (Round 4).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of the Newtown Rugby League football Club at
  2. ^ Williams, Terry (1993). Out of the Blue: The History of Newtown RLFC. Tempe, N.S.W.: Newtown RLFC. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0646150472. 
  3. ^ "Football". The Sydney Mail. 21 September 1910. p. 54. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  4. ^ Williams, Terry (1993). Out of the Blue: The History of Newtown RLFC. Tempe, N.S.W.: Newtown RLFC. p. 143. ISBN 0646150472. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ NSWRL 2007 Table retrieved 20 December 2007

External links[edit]