As the curtain was closing on the 2019 Canterbury Cup NSW season a clear premier was yet to be determined.
That was until William Kennedy sparked widespread scenes of jubilation with a try in the dying stages of extra-time to snatch a 20-15 victory for the Newtown Jets and their first premiership since 2012.
It was a fitting finish for the foundation club who endured a heart-breaking 18-12 defeat in last year’s decider against the Bulldogs.
Remarkably, they would repeat their efforts just one week later, courtesy of the trusted boot of Billy Magoulias once again – whose deft chip kick landed in the arms of Jackson Ferris to cross with just seconds remaining in the NRL State Championship against the Burleigh Bears.
They boasted plenty of stars such as Kennedy, Magoulias, and Toby Rudolf, who are undoutebdy primed for big futures in Rugby League after enjoying stellar seasons respectively.
Looking back at the year that was, it’s safe to say the Jets were deservedly crowned champions after storming into the decider from seventh place on the competition ladder.
Grand Final v Wentworthville Magpies – 20-15 W
HIGHLIGHTS | 2019 Grand Final: Newtown v Wentworthville
How can you look past the Jets Incredible Grand Final triumph at Bankwest Stadium as their season highlight?
It was a crazy Grand Final of epic proportions with the game not decided until the 87th minute thanks to the brilliance of Kennedy and Magoulias.
Magoulias' cross-field kick landed perfectly in the arms of Tyrone Phillips who offloaded to Kennedy on the inside to cross under the posts and send the Jets faithful into overdrive.
It finished a stunning final 30-minute period which saw Braydon Trindall land a clutch 35m penalty goal to send the game into overtime before Jaemon Salmon nailed a field-goal to give the Magpies a one-point lead in the 82nd minute.
It was the first time a team has won the decider from outside the top eight since the Newcastle Knights in 2015.
Simply their best
There’s a handful of players who could be viewed as the Jets’ best across their 2019 campaign but you can’t look past the efforts of Grand Final hero William Kennedy.
He finished the Canterbury Cup NSW season 16 tries, 15 line-breaks, eight try-assists, and 104 tackle-breaks – rightfully earning an NRL debut with the Sharks in Round 6 against the Panthers.
While he was consistent across all of his 23 appearances, his stunning Man of the Match performance in the decider was arguably his best.
He recorded three line-breaks, two line-breaks, seven tackle-breaks, 248m and two tries – one of which being the match-defining four-pointer in the closing stages of extra-time.
He was deservedly named 2019 Fullback of the Year at season's end.
Room for improvement
They say defence wins premierships but in the Jets’ case it was certainly their attacking brand of Rugby League that earned them the penultimate prize.
Defensively, they leaked the second-most points of any side in the competition throughout the regular season (536), while ranking first for missed tackles (970).
Moving forward, defence will be key for Newtown we they search for back-to-back premierships, but such is the talent of the squad that they will be just as dangerous with the ball-in-hand in 2020 and beyond.
Soward’s season grading
The Jets were simply outstanding.
They continued to find a way towards the end of the year so I would say their overall campaign will be looked back on with great pride.
They timed their run perfectly and when the big moments came their players stood up and I thought they were well-deserved premiers.