Success has run deep throughout the Newtown Jets in their rich and long-lasting history and 2018 proved to be another season of triumph despite falling short in the Grand Final.
They established themselves among the premiership contenders early in the competition – largely basing their game on their potent attack through the likes of Kyle Flanagan, Blayke Brailey and William Kennedy.
They finished the season with the most tries (129) and line-breaks (148) of any team in the competition, with their youthful exuberance allowing them to play an attacking brand of Rugby League that was often too hard to handle for opposition defenders.
Their 36-12 victory over the Panthers in Round 4 gave fans an early indication as to what would follow in 2018, ultimately proving to be a season-defining game which saw them run in six tries against the best defensive side in the competition.
And it was those efforts with the ball-in-hand that eventually helped them finish third on the competition ladder, and subsequently feature in the decider although unable to claim victory against the Bulldogs with a heart-breaking 18-12 defeat.
The emergence of Flanagan and Brailey proved to be a key factor in the strong year, while the leadership of inspirational skipper Anthony Moraitis proved telling in their late-season surge towards the finals.
It was certainly a year to celebrate for the foundation club after they were unable to feature in the finals series last season, and coach Greg Matterson will undoubtedly be looking to build on their sustained success in 2019 with a squad that has the perfect mix of experience and youth.
The Key Number
The Newtown Jets finished the competition with the most points of any side in the competition (707), a significant difference to the second ranked Bulldogs who finished with 635.
They based a majority of their attack around their spine of Kennedy, Jack Williams, Flanagan and Brailey – four emerging stars who boast an abundance of attacking flair and ability.
Their formidable combination can only improve in the years to come, and with limitless potential, they will be made better for the experience in the hopes of going one better next season.
The Rising Star
Kyle Flanagan and Blayke Brailey both enjoyed breakout seasons in 2018 but fullback William Kennedy was also one of the shining lights for the Newtown Jets and proved to be one of their most consistent performers.
The elusive No.1 was ranked second in the competition for try-assists (15), while his lethal running game helped him to 14 tries, 12 line-breaks and 16 line-break assists for the year.
His undeniable talent will see him form a key role in the Jets hopes of another finals berth in 2019, but more-so for the 21-year-old, a potential debut for the Cronulla Sharks could also be looming if his dynamic form continues into next season.
How It Will Be Remembered
It was a year that comes down to old cliche of 'close, but not close enough' for the foundation club, but nonetheless a season they can look back on with fond memories and plenty of promise.
They have laid a strong foundation with their attack that puts them in perfect position to be one of the premiership heavyweights next season, and under the watchful of Matterson, few could doubt the Jets potential to possibly go one better in 2019.