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Jets tackle COVID-19 outbreak by sharing history

You can’t keep a good club down – or their story, for that matter.

The release of ‘Taking It To The Streets – The Second Life of the Newtown RLFC’ is now the third book about the famous 1908 foundation club, the Newtown Jets, currently sitting eighth on The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup ladder before the competition went into lockdown over the COVID-19 outbreak.

So popular is this inner-Sydney club that an over-supply from the initial print run has allowed the Jets to not only send copies to council libraries in the Balmain, Canterbury, Dulwich Hill, Leichhardt, South Sydney, Marrickville districts, but beyond to NSW and Queensland regional centres.

Why? The book’s author, Jets director and media officer Glen Dwyer, said it was simply due to the number of supporters the club had “out in the bush”.

“We’d noticed that on one occasion, when we played a curtain raiser to a NRL pre-season match up in Parkes in 2005, there were several hundred Aboriginal people at the game all cheering for Newtown,” Dwyer said.

“We asked them why and they said the Jets had always been their team. They’d stayed loyal to us over all those years. And they’d come from places like Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Nyngan, as well as Parkes.”

So, a conversation with fellow Jets director Terry Rowney led to more complementary copies of the book being sent to those libraries as well – along with Temora, Cootamundra, Gundagai, Wagga, Harden, Cobar - and even to Charleville, Dirranbandi, Wallumbilla and Texas in south-west Queensland.

“A lot of these places have a link with the club through past players or coaches so it was a gesture to them to thank them for their support,” Dwyer said.

The title of the book traces Newtown’s existence since it left the NSW first grade competition at the end of the 1983 season.

“We didn’t play a single game, or run onto a field, between 1984 through to 1990 inclusive,” Dwyer said. “But then we were back in 1991 in the Metropolitan Cup (equivalent of Ron Massey Cup today) and were quite successful (with four premierships).

The Jets have had partnerships with South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Warriors, the Sydney Roosters and are currently with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. The most recent premierships came in 2012 and 2019.

Through it all the famous blue jersey and the club’s Henson Park home still evoke fondness and passion among supporters as a place to bring family and friends to watch the footy.

The earlier two books:  ‘Out Of The Blue – The History of the Newtown RLFC’ published in 1993, and ‘Through Blue Eyes – A Pictorial History of the Newtown RLFC’ published in 2008, were written by Terry Williams, who has worked with both the NSWRL and NRL.

Copies of Dwyer’s ‘Taking It To The Streets – The Second Life of the Newtown RLFC’  can be bought from the Newtown RLFC office at 14 Rich Street Marrickville (phone 0407 027 000); at Newtown Jets home games at Henson Park; and online through the club’s merchandise department: www.newtownjetsclothing.com.au