Newtown Jets skipper Scott Sorensen summed it up best: the footy gods must have been smiling on them.
That’s the only way to describe Newtown’s stunning 20-16 win over Burleigh Bears to claim the ANZ State Championship at ANZ Stadium today. It was a match that went down to the last bounce of the ball – literally.
With the Jets trailing 16-14 and time all but up five-eighth Billy Magoulias – who helped the Jets to a win in Canterbury Cup NSW after putting a cross field kick in for the match-winning try – decided to try his luck with the boot once again.
He put a kick into traffic which the Bears looked to have covered before it took a saloon bounce back infield and into the arms of Jackson Ferris who raced away for his second try of the afternoon.
“It’s honestly unbelievable, I’m a little bit speechless,” Sorensen told nswrl.com.au
“The way we finished the boys off and just hung in there with a little bit of backs against the wall mentality – to come away with that one just shows what a resilient, tough and gritty side we really are.
“Maybe the footy gods were with us today and helped us out a little bit but it’s just the group we’ve got here mate. Everyone stands shoulder to shoulder and helps each out.”
Newtown definitely needed to stand shoulder to shoulder today after a tough start to the game. They started the match with a penalty goal but things quickly fell apart from there with the Bears scoring three unanswered tries and Ronaldo Mulitalo sent to the sin bin for a head butt.
The Jets needed something special to spark them and it arrived in the form of William Kennedy. The Bears looked certain to score after Jamal Fogarty made a long break and picked up Tyronne Roberts-Davis in support but the Jets fullback managed to cut him down and prevent him from planting the ball over the line.
“I was on the sideline when that happened and I said, “That’s going to win us the game”,” Jets forward Greg Eastwood said.
“If he doesn’t do that they’re too far ahead and we’re trying to chase point and can’t play our game.
“Will’s had a great final series and hopefully next year he gets the call-up for Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks because he’ll be ready to go.”
Down 16-2, Jets winger Sione Katoa gave his side a sniff when he finished off a backline move – and produced a spectacular, acrobatic flip in the process to plant the ball over the line – to reduce the margin to 16-6.
Magoulias then showed his trademark desperation to charge down a kick which bounced up nicely for Ferris to pounce on and race away to score his first try for the day and it was game on at 16-10.
The Jets scored again through Katoa to make it 16-14 with Braydon Trindall missing a tough shot from the sideline to lock the scores up.
At that stage time was the Jets enemy and it looked like it might defeat them this time around – they had won the Canterbury Cup NSW after the match went into extra-time – when they received the ball with only 20 seconds left on the clock. Enter Magoulias.
“We just tend to fall behind and then somehow we get home at the end,” Magoulias said.
“I just put a kick in there, he got the bounce, got into space and that was the end of it.
“All the boys love playing for Newtown and we took this one as NSW versus Queensland. I didn’t want to lose to those blokes. There’s nothing worse and I’ll do anything to try and win.”