A fan's message to the Newtown

Here at Newtown we believe we have a special product on offer at our home games at Henson Park, and that the Newtown club has a valuable ongoing role in Rugby League football. This very articulate supporter's message is worth reading.

I just wanted to let you know that I attended my first match at Henson Park last Saturday afternoon, when the Jets took on North Sydney in the Frank Hyde Cup decider.

I am a lifelong St. George supporter and a season ticketholder for the Dragons home matches at Kogarah Oval, but I must admit I haven't enjoyed my footy as much in recent years. I was particularly disenchanted when the powers that be decided North Sydney's time was up. A club with a history spanning just over 90 years. Not the most successful club, but a club that never gave up and a club which, in the 1990s, transformed itself into the one of the most professional, successful and well supported clubs the game has seen.

Growing up in Frenchs Forest (and hating Manly) I attended more games at North Sydney Oval than at any other ground, despite the fact I didn't support them. As is well documented the Bears intended to move to Gosford in 1999, but inclement weather and a lack of support from the game's hierarchy sent them spiralling into debt and forced into an unholy alliance with long term rivals Manly. Many of my friends have lost interest now that their team is gone and in a way I don't blame them. It appears football is no longer about the community but about money and Pay-TV.

There are obviously many parallels in the Newtown and North Sydney stories. Neither club was ever flush with funds or indeed overly successful, but they represented their communities and they played with passion. They were both betrayed and left to wither, but both are fighting back. It was for this reason that my girlfriend and I ventured out to the game on Saturday and I have to say it was my most enjoyable day at the football for a long time.

The supporters were all welcoming and friendly, the community spirit was beaming and the football was exciting. My girlfriend could not be called a football fan but she had a great time and has indicated she'll be back again later in the season. Next time, we'll be bringing others with us.

I'd better wrap this up because I'm rambling now, but I just wanted to say thanks for a great afternoon at the footy, good luck for the rest of the season and we'll be back at Henson again in the very near future.