GAMES OF THE YEAR | #7 – Rd18 Bears v Jets

Looking back on the remarkable year that was, NSWRL.com.au counts down the 10 best games from the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season. At No.​7, the Bears and Jets play out an enthralling draw in the second leg of the Frank Hyde Shield, just weeks after they couldn't be separated in the corresponding fixture.

It was one of those game's where you just shake your head at the ridiculous rollercoaster of emotions that Rugby League can provide.    

The North Sydney Bears and Newtown Jets played out a thrilling 22-all draw in Round 9 – the first leg of the 2018 Frank Hyde Shield, but little could have predicted what would pan out in the second fixture and next to no-one would have guessed another draw could follow. 

But that's exactly what transpired in Round 18, an incredible 28-all draw ensuring the Frank Hyde Shield would be shared between the foundation clubs – a fitting finish for two sides who couldn't be separated across their two fixtures.

But the second draw wasn't before a determined comeback from the Bears after they trailed 28-10 with less than 20 minutes remaining in the contest, with not just two competition points slipping by the minute, but a potential finals berth as well. 

Captain Billy Brittain proved instrumental in the Bears' comeback against the Newtown Jets.
Captain Billy Brittain proved instrumental in the Bears' comeback against the Newtown Jets. ©NRLPhotos

The Jets were dominating after two tries in quick succession gave them an 18-point buffer early in the second-half, with the game panning out exactly as many suggested, with Newtown flying in the top-four while the Bears were lingering towards the bottom of the competition ladder.

But they would ensure a fighting finish in the closing stages – three unanswered tries within a relentless nine minute period, including a clutch sideline conversion from Dean Hawkins, giving them a share of the competition points and also the Frank Hyde Shield. 

The first of those three came through veteran Curtis Johnston – the winger pouncing on a loose ball after Rhys Kennedy knocked it back in-field when it seemed to have gone too far. 

Then Viliami Kaveinga gave his side a glimmer of hope when he crossed under the posts with just over 10 minutes remaining, before a classy backline movement saw Jesse Arthars cross in the right-hand corner just moments later. 

Then a sense of deja-vu hit for young halfback Hawkins – in the corresponding fixture he had a golden chance to live out a childhood dream, with a victory dependent on his sideline conversion after the full-time siren had sounded. 

His attempt would go astray however, much to the demise of the Bears faithful.

But just nine weeks later, with the game on the line once again, he would ensure the same mistake wouldn't happen twice. 

The ball sailed between the posts from his trusted right boot, not only giving himself a great sense of relief, but an emphatic finish for his club and and snatching an unlikely draw as well.