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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 Canterbury Cup NSW 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.

Newtown Jets
Newton Jets Logo.png
Club information
Full nameNewtown District Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s)Bluebags, Baggies, Jets
ColoursNewtown colours.svg Primary: Royal Blue, Secondary: White
Founded8 January 1908 (foundation club)
Current details
CoachGreg Matterson
CompetitionCanterbury Cup NSW
2019 SeasonPremiers
Home jersey
Home colours
Premierships3 (1910, 1933, 1943)
Runners-up7 (1913, 1914, 1929, 1944, 1954, 1955, 1981)
Minor premiership6 (1910, 1933, 1943, 1944, 1954, 1955)
Wooden spoons7 (1925, 1928, 1939, 1968, 1976, 1977, 1978)

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.[1]

Newtown is the first rugby league football club in Australia and the oldest 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,[2] however other sources, most notably Terry Williams' book Out of the Blue: The History of Newtown RLFC, dispute this claim.[3] 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. Terry Rowney (Board Member) holds the original minutes.

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.[4] 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 north/south 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 PremiershipEdit

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,[5] 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. On August 27 Newtown played their last match, defeating Canberra 9-6.

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 LeagueEdit

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   (now in South Sydney)
  • Marrickville RSL   (now in South Sydney)
  • Earlwood Saints   (now in St George)
  • Christian Brothers Lewisham   (now only compete in school competitions)

Some extinct Newtown junior clubs include;

  • St Peters  
  • Newtown Hawks  
  • Tempe Iona Warriors  
  • Addison Royals (Addison Road Sports Club)  
  • Henson Park Colts  
  • De La Salle Petersham  
  • 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
  • St Pius' Enmore
  • St Josephs Newtown

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.[citation needed] The coach during 1990, 1991 and 1992 was Brian 'Wacka' Wakefield.[citation needed]

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 Roosters (until the end of the 2014 season), and as of the start of the 2015 season with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.[7]

Attendances at Henson Park are the highest in the NSWRL Premier League.[8] Their attendance is always announced as being 8,972, this is in reference to a game played at Henson Park in the 1990s on a wet and miserable day. The Newtown Jets ground announcer John Lynch jokingly said through the speaker that the crowd was 8972. This figure has now become a part of Newtown folklore and is announced as the crowd at every home match.[9]

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.[10]

In 2007, the club had a less fortunate season compared to 2006, failing to make the finals or even make the top 10.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

In 2012, Newtown just made the finals, finishing the regular season in 7th spot, but reached the Grand Final against the 8th placed Balmain Ryde-Eastwood Tigers, on their way defeating the more fancied North Sydney Bears and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. 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.[14]

On 27 August 2016, Newtown played host to Manly at Henson Park in the last regular season fixture of the year. With less than twenty minutes to play Newtown trailed Manly by 38-12, Newtown then preceded to score 5 tries in 18 minutes to win the match 40-38. This was also the last game that Manly ever played in the NSW Cup as a stand-alone team due to their merger with Blacktown Workers commencing 2017.[15]

On Sunday 18 September 2016, Newtown played Illawarra for a place in the grand final. With under 10 minutes to go, Newtown were winning until Illawarra scored two quick tries to defeat Newtown 18-10. Illawarra went on to win their first premiership the next week.[16]

The 2017 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season was not a good one for Newtown as they finished 11th (Second last) on the table with just 6 wins all year.[17]

On 30 October 2017, it was announced that Newtown would be continuing their partnership with Cronulla for 2018, acting as the feeder club side.[18] On 17 May 2018, Newtown announced that they had extended their partnership as Cronulla's feeder team for a further five years.[19]

The 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season was a return to form for Newtown as the club finished 3rd on the table at the end of the regular season. In the finals series, Newtown defeated defending premiers Penrith to qualify for the grand final. In the final, Newtown led Canterbury 10-0 early on but could not hold onto their advantage and were defeated 18-12 in a close game.[20]

At the start of the 2019 Canterbury Cup NSW season, Newtown began badly losing their first 4 games before recovering to finish the regular season in 7th place on the table and qualify for the finals.[21]

Newtown would then go on to make the 2019 Canterbury Cup NSW grand final after defeating Mounties, North Sydney and minor premiers St George. In the grand final against Wentworthville, Newtown won the premiership after scoring a try in the 88th minute of extra-time at the new Western Sydney Stadium to win 20-15.[22]

The following week in the NRL State Championship final at ANZ Stadium, Newtown player Billy Magoulias set up the winning try with just five seconds of normal time remaining. With Newtown trailing the match, Magoulias kicked over the top of the Burleigh Bears defence and Newtown player Jackson Ferris raced away to score under the posts to give Newtown at 20-16 victory.[23]


Current squadEdit

The current squad is made up of the following:

Newtown Jets
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 15 Jan 2019
Source(s): [1]

Team of the centuryEdit

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 registerEdit

No. Name Years G W D L % Premierships Runners-up Minor Premierships Wooden spoons
1 Arthur Halloway 1923 16 4 2 10 25%
2 Albert Johnston 1923, 1925–1926 43 14 2 27 33% 1925
3 Bill Farnsworth 1924 8 2 5 1 25%
4 Jack Chaseling 1929 16 10 0 6 63% 1929
5 Charles Russell 1933 16 11 0 5 69% 1933 1933
6 Frank Burge 1940 15 9 0 6 60%
7 Percy Williams 1941 14 6 2 6 43%
8 Arthur Folwell 1942–1944 108 60 4 44 58% 1943 1944 1943, 1944
9 Frank Farrell 1946–1951 108 60 4 44 56%
10 Frank Johnson 1952–1953 36 15 2 19 42%
11 Col Geelan 1954 21 16 2 3 76% 1954 1954
12 Dick Poole 1955–1958, 1966–1968 143 66 4 73 46% 1955 1955 1968
13 Charles Cahill 1959–1961 55 21 0 34 38%
14 Allan Ellis 1962–1965 74 37 3 34 50%
15 Harry Bath 1969–1972 88 33 4 51 38%
16 Jack Gibson 1973 26 16 1 9 62%
17 Clarrie Jeffries 1974–1976 66 19 4 43 29% 1976
18 Paul Broughton 1977–1978 36 2 1 33 6% 1977
19 Johnny Raper 1978 9 2 0 7 22% 1978
20 Warren Ryan 1979–1982 97 47 5 45 49% 1981
21 Brian Moore 1983 26 7 2 17 27%

Honours and recordsEdit


Youth TeamEdit

  • Reserve Grade (6): 1922, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1970, 1974.
  • President's Cup (6): 1919, 1921, 1928, 1944, 1950, 1956.
  • Club Championship: 1973.
  • Preseason Competition: 1973.
  • City Cup: 1937, 1942.
  • State Championship: 1941, 1945, 2019.
  • Metropolitan Cup: 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997.
  • NSW Cup: 2012, 2019

  • Biggest wins:
    • 51-0 v Illawarra at Henson Park, 2 May 1982
    • 55-7 v St George at SCG, 26 Aug 1944 (A Semi-Final record margin)
    • 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
  • Come from Behind Victories:

1926, Newtown vs Souths at the SCG. Souths hadn't lost a match in 1925 nor yet in 1926. Souths took an easy lead of 18-0 well into the second half. With Newtown down to 12 men (no replacement rule was in place) the matched looked like it would be a run-a-way victory. Newtown however managed to throw the ball around and ran out eventual victors by the smallest of margings, 25-24. The 'battlers' had defeated the 'invincibles'.

27 August 2016, Newtown played host to Manly at Henson Park in the last regular season fixture of the year. With less than twenty minutes to play Newtown trailed Manly by 38-12, Newtown then preceded to score 5 tries in 18 minutes to win the match 40-38


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 at Wentworth Park): 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).
  • No Score (in 1982): 0-0 (Nil all) Vs Canterbury Banskstown, at Henson Park (First time in First Grade history no points were scored in a match).
  • Lowest Score Win (in 1973): 1-0 (One-Nil) Vs St. George, at SCG (First time in First Grade history only 1 point was scored in a match. Field goals were devalued to 1 point in 1971).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Passamar, André (1984). "Newtown". L'encyclopédie de Treize Magazine (in French). Toulouse: Sud Ouest Presse Impression. ASIN B0014I5GK6.
  2. ^ History of the Newtown Rugby League football Club at
  3. ^ Williams, Terry (1993). Out of the Blue: The History of Newtown RLFC. Tempe, N.S.W.: Newtown RLFC. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0646150472.
  4. ^ "Football". The Sydney Mail. 21 September 1910. p. 54. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
  5. ^ Williams, Terry (1993). Out of the Blue: The History of Newtown RLFC. Tempe, N.S.W.: Newtown RLFC. p. 143. ISBN 0646150472.
  6. ^ Carr, Andy. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University – via Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  7. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (10 September 2014). "Newtown Jets become feeder club for Cronulla" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ "Newtown Jets: The coolest club in rugby league". 21 July 2017.
  9. ^ (1 July 2016). "8972 fans".
  10. ^ "Eels win Premier League - League - Sport -".
  11. ^ NSWRL 2007 Table retrieved 20 December 2007
  12. ^ "A record 104min Grand Final".
  13. ^ "2011 Return to Redfern Trial South Sydney Rabbitohs v Newtown Jets Team List".
  14. ^ "Newtown take NSW Cup title".
  15. ^ "The Jets turn on a Reunion Day tour de force". 30 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Cutters ground the Jets".
  17. ^ "NSWRL Live - powered by Statedge".
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Star power on show for Canterbury Cup NSW Semi-Finals". NSWRL.
  22. ^ "Newtown reign supreme in epic decider". NSWRL.
  23. ^ "Newtown Jets steal the State Championship with a last second freak try". Sporting News.

External linksEdit