The Newtown Jets and the North Sydney Bears have gone down until the final siren at North Sydney Oval, with the visitors edging out the home-side 16-12 in an absolute thriller.
An Edrick Lee intercept-try ended up being the difference in the extremely physical game, while Fa’amanu Brown also had some classy touches for Newtown.
This game was the first leg of the Frank Hyde Shield, with Bears lock Cheyne Whitelaw wearing the No. 43 on his back to represent when the two clubs battled in the 1943 NSWRL Grand Final.
As expected, the opening quarter of the game was a brutal encounter with a defensive theme, with neither side able to break away from the end-to-end style of footy to trouble the scorekeeper.
The visitors were first to score thanks to a barge-over effort by Jesse Ramien, and Fa’amanu Brown was able to nudge the lead out to eight points shortly afterwards with a penalty goal.
It looked as if the Bears were going to enter the sheds at half-time without scoring a point, until the strength and will of Braidon Burns got them on the board as he was able to burst through the Jets’ fractured defensive line to score adjacent to the posts.
The Eli Levido conversion meant the Jets’ held a small 8-6 lead at half-time.
Newtown were able to post first points in the second half thanks to the pure class of Fa’amanu Brown, as he held the ball up perfectly that created a hole for Jordan Drew to stroll through and score.
From the Jets’ perspective, the Bears simply would not go away, and after various sets in optimal field position, Sitiveni Mociedreke finished off a right-to-left shift to reduce the deficit to two, before a penalty goal squared it up to 12-all with 20 minutes remaining.
Matt Evans was denied a try when Adam Doueihi was taken out, and the Bears marched 100 metres up-field to force a dropout and go straight onto the attack. In a do-or-die play, Edrick Lee saved the day for the Jets’ by eating up an intercept and running the length of the field to give Newtown a 16-12 lead.
The game ceased after two minutes of nothing but razzle-dazzle from the Bears, but the Jets were able to hold out until the final siren.
Newtown Jets 16 (J Ramien, E Lee, J Drew tries; F Brown 2 goals) def North Sydney Bears 12 (B Burns, S Moceidreke tries; E Levido 2 goals)