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NSW Cup 2022 Season Preview | Newtown Jets

The NSWRL has cast its eye over the 12 teams who will take part in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup in 2022, with the opening round to kick off on Saturday 12 March. The state’s premier competition remains a valuable pathway for higher honours with 52 players going on last season to play in the NRL. Today, the Newtown Jets.

2021

Jets fans shouldn’t fret that the famous ‘Bluebags’ were sitting eighth on The Knock-On-Effect NSW Cup ladder when the competition was cancelled last July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newton finished seventh when the 2019 regular season drew to a close before storming their way into the NSW Cup Grand Final and beating the Wentworthville Magpies to claim the premiership.

So, the ability to surprise seems part of the Jets DNA. Perhaps it’s just the wily ways of long-time coach Greg Matterson, who’s been at the helm since 2008.

“I’ve been around a long time and being a feeder club, we were with the Roosters for 10 years and now the Sharks so I’ve had the privilege of working with some great coaches – premiership winners like Ricky (Stuart), Robbo (Trent Robinson) and Flano (Shane Flanagan),” Matterson said.

“I’m with Fitzy (Craig Fitzgibbon) now, who I first met when he was training as a Rooster. He’s a real breath of fresh air and good bloke so those kinds of things make my job so enjoyable each year.”

Regardless, Matterson won’t want the Jets’ start in 2022 to look anything like 2021 – a first-up win against the Dragons before five straight losses.

“We were a little bit unlucky in that the Sharks had an injury-ridden start to their NRL season, and we also had a few injuries,” he said.

“But at the moment we’re fully healthy and we feel like we’ve got a competitive enough squad to win some early games.

“We need to do that and take a bit of pressure off the back end of the year, which we were starting to put ourselves under.

“We’ve got to watch out because the two grand finals I’ve won we were seventh and eighth but now there’s only five-teams semi-finals. So, we need to make sure we’re in that top four-to-five right from the get-go.”

The Jets managed only four wins in 2021, adding to eight losses and one draw.

The Short Side with Jamie Soward & Luke Metcalf

This season

Familiar faces in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup last year were halves Braydon Trindall and Luke Metcalf. Trindall was also goalkicker along with being a handy tryscorer as was Metcalf both at five-eighth or at fullback.

They are two key parts of the Jets attacking spine that are in the NRL full-time squad this year.

“We got Rhys Davies over from Manly – he was at Parramatta before that – and has a fair bit of NSW Cup experience in the halves and Zac Woolford is still with us at hooker,” Matterson said.

“The Sharks have also signed Jayden Berrell from Wynnum-Manly (Qld Cup) and he’s a real competitor at dummy-half so I’ve got a couple of good No.9s I can call on.”

Prodigal sons Reuben Rennie from the Bulldogs (2019 NSW Cup Best & Fairest award), Myles Taueli (Redcliffe), and Addison Demetriou (Manly) have returned to Newton.

“We’ve got a fair bit of strike and zeal and we’ve got some outside backs I’m looking forward to like Zac Cini we’ve signed from Western Suburbs Magpies. Kevin Iro’s son Kayal Iro is staying with us another year like Jackson Ferris and we’ve got a good young kid in Tom Hazelton.”

Cini was second in the NSW Cup for tackle-breaks in 2021 with 54, behind Penrith’s Taylan May (57).

“Hopefully we’ll get a sprinkling of NRL players to keep our spine strong. But we still feel like we’ve assembled a better squad this year than we have recently – just on the quality of the blokes who we really targeted to bring here,” Matterson said.

Read more season reviews: Panthers, Eels, Bears, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Rabbitohs

Players to watch

Matterson nominated Cook Islands international Reuben Rennie was one to look out for in 2022.

“He’s played a couple of NRL trials in the backrow and ‘Fitzy’ has been impressed with him,” he said.

“Myles Taueli could be a star, as can Addison Demetriou if he stays fit. And Zac Woolford continues to impress at hooker.

“Young lock Tyler Slade was captain of the Sharks U20s side last year and we’ve got really big hopes for him – he looked really good in the trials and I think he can push through to the NRL.

“Kurt Dillon is also back with us – he’s such a tough leader who most likely will be our captain.”

Dillon is a product from De La Salle Caringbah club and was Newton Jets’ Player of the Year in 2017, and a part of their Grand Final team in 2018 alongside making his NRL debut for the Sharks that same year.

He also played NRL for the South Sydney Rabbitohs before joining the Parramatta Eels last year.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.