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Newtown reign supreme in epic Grand Final

Unbelievable.

The Newtown Jets have claimed the 2019 Canterbury Cup NSW premiership with an enthralling 20-15 extra-time victory over the Wentworthville Magpies in a crazy Grand Final of epic proportions.

It was a try to William Kennedy with just two minutes remaining in extra-time which proved the difference – the livewire fullback supporting a Tyrone Phillips break through the middle after a pinpoint chip-kick from Billy Magoulias. 

It came moments after a clutch 35m penalty goal from Braydon Trindall in the 75th minute and a field goal from Magpies five-eighth Jaeman Salmon in the first stages of overtime.  

Kennedy finished with a mammoth 245m, three line-breaks, one try-assist, seven tackle-breaks, and one match-winning try in a stunning Man of the Match display. 

"Words can't describe how good that felt," Kennedy told NSWRL.com.au. 

"I just saw Billy (Magoulias) put a kick in and just pushed through as a fullback would and ended up getting the try which was unreal. 

"He's been working on it (his kicks) at training and they work out for us."

The Jets, who surged into the Grand Final from seventh place on the competition ladder, are the first team to earn a Grand Final triumph from outside the top-eight since the Newcastle Knights in 2015. 

It also comes 12 months after the Jets fell agonisingly short in the 2018 decider with a heart-breaking 18-12 defeat to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.  

It was a game that produced countless heart-stopping moments, and fittingly so, considering both clubs stormed into the decider from the bottom half of the top-eight and the first time the competition's grandest day was played at Bankwest Stadium. 

Very little could separate the two sides for the entire contest, with the lead changing five times throughout the course of a thrilling first 40 minutes, before a nearly scoreless second stanza saw the game undecided at the final siren.  

Kennedy and Josh Hoffman went toe-to-toe in an entertaining battle of the fullbacks while Tim Mannah, in his farewell game, produced a customary hard-working game along with Jets enforcers Toby Rudolf and Magoulias. 

Rudolf topped the tackle count with 47 in just as many minutes while Mannah and David Gower ran for 204m and 192m respectively. 

Newtown were made to rue a host of missed opportunities on either side of the break – Tyrone Phillips producing two moments of brilliance, only to be denied by the video referee in the first-half before some scrambling Magpies defence prevented another in the second stanza.  

Kennedy sparked the opening try for Ronaldo Mulitalo with a classy offload in the 13th minute but Hoffman responded with a powerful effort of his own for the Magpies first four-pointer just five minutes later. 

Magoulias sparked his side into the lead after half-an-hour with a deft grubber for Scott Sorensen – the co-captain winning the race to the football before Braydon Trindall converted adjacent to the uprights. 

A George Jennings try just four minutes before half-time, and ensuing conversion from Rhys Davies, ensured a valuable two-point advantage for the Magpies at the main break.  

It didn't come without a crazy finish, however, with the Jets almost scoring off some second-phase play as the siren sounded only for Andrew Davey to produce a desperate cover tackle on the left-hand touchline. 

The game hung in the balance for a large part of the second-half with Phillips almost scoring and Katoa denied a try just moments later, although Newtown continued to hold out the Magpies with some defiant defensive efforts on their goal-line. 

Sione Katoa looked to have crossed for a match-defining try with 20 minutes remaining, only to be denied by the video referee after Matt Evans was ruled to have illegally stripped the ball before offloading to Katoa for his 60m dash to the try-line. 

Neither side could find the breakthrough as the Magpies responded with some committed efforts of their own, although a Hoffman shoulder charge in the dying stages allowed Trindall to nail the match-leveling conversion with only a few minutes to spare. 

The closing exchanges could only be described by those who witnessed, with the game determined by countless match-making plays from both sides, but none more so than that of 2019 Fullback of the Year, WIlliam Kennedy. 

Although Salmon nailed a field-goal from 20m out and a Magpies victory looking more and more likely, it was the combination of Magoulias, Phillips and Kennedy that sent the Jets faithful into overdrive and the premiership en route to Newtown.