Looking back on the remarkable year that was, NSWRL.com.au counts down the 10 biggest stories from the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season. At No.8, over 8000 fans enjoy the festivities of one of the most anticipated events of the year.
Round 20 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW marked a special occasion for the Newtown Jets, not solely for their continued success on the field but for their greater efforts off it.
Their clash against a red-hot Penrith Panthers outfit was billed as a blockbuster clash, with fans enjoying the annual Beer, Footy and Food Festival – one of the most exciting game-day events on the foundation club's calendar.
Remarkably, approximately 8000 fans flocked to Henson Oval to enjoy the wide range of food trucks and craft beers on offer, topping the 6134 who attended Brookvale Oval to watch the Sea Eagles host the Panthers in the Round 20 NRL fixture.
The electric atmosphere galvanised the Jets in one of the most entertaining games of the season, but the class of the Panthers stood tall in the closing stages as they iced a 28-24 comeback victory to continue their nine-game winning streak.
The Jets were enjoying an undefeated run of their own, however, going into the clash with three wins and a draw across their last four outings, with the clash against the Panthers looming as a season-defining fixture that put their premiership credentials to the test.
Despite the defeat, they well and truly staked their claims as one of the heavyweights of the competition after an impressive performance – racing out to a 24-10 lead early in the second half before conceding three tries within a relentless 11-minute period to gift the Panthers the two competition points.
Newtown would go onto to win two of their last four games of the year to cement their place in the top-four, while the Panthers claimed the Minor Premiership after finishing the regular season with a 13-game unbeaten run.
Incredibly for the Jets, they would seek revenge on the reigning premiers in the best way possible – a gripping 28-24 win in the Preliminary Final helping them to their first Grand Final since their premiership triumph in 2012.