Australia's first Rugby League club, the Newtown Jets, celebrates its 99th birthday on Monday, January 8th 2007. The Jets were formerly known as the Bluebags and have used their current nickname since the early 1970's. The club's home ground is still Henson Park and the Jets still proudly sport the club's famous royal blue colours.
While Newtown was never one of Rugby League's wealthier clubs, the Bluebags and Jets acquired a loyal following through their never say die spirit and fierce resilience. The club played in the NSW Rugby League first grade competition from 1908 to 1983, winning premierships in 1910, 1933 and 1943. The Jets were ultimately forced out of the top level of Rugby League through spiralling costs and unfavourable demographic changes in their confined inner city catchment area.
The Newtown club re-entered senior Rugby League in 1991 and now competes in the NSWRL VB Premier League, the second strongest competition in Australian Rugby League. The Jets played in last year's VB Premier League Grand Final, losing a thrilling match 20-19 to Parramatta in golden point extra time.
Some of Newtown's more famous playing alumni have included the Farnsworth brothers, Arthur Folwell, Frank Hyde, Frank 'Bumper' Farrell, Len Smith, Dick Poole, Brian Clay, Johnny Raper, Brian 'Chicka' Moore, Lionel Williamson and Tom Raudonikis.
Flamboyant business tycoon John Singleton is the club's official Patron and a life member of the Jets. Other celebrity supporters include accomplished actor David Wenham, Big Brother's Tim Brunero, Tim Freedman from The Whitlams, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen, WSFM disc jockey Ron E. Sparks, shock rockers Frenzal Rhomb and the NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt MP.
The Jets have formed a close partnership with NRL giants the Sydney Roosters and will field another very strong team in the high-standard VB Premier League competition in the 2007 season. The Newtown Jets community extends birthday greetings to other 1908 NSWRL foundation clubs who turn 99 soon - Balmain, North Sydney, South Sydney, Western Suburbs and the Sydney Roosters.