HERE'S further proof the Newtown Jets production line is doing its job, with brilliant centre Kayal Iro earning promotion to Cronulla's NRL squad from next year.
The 22-year-old will be part of the Sharks' 30-man line-up for the rest of this season before going fulltime in 2023 at the start of a fresh two-year deal. Iro will remain available for Newtown's run to this year's NSW Cup finals, but coach Greg Matterson expects to see little of him in the future.
"He'll play NRL next year for sure," Matto declared. "He's a real good kid, hard-working and humble. He's been one of our shining lights this year and I'm really happy for him. He's got a great carry, great footwork, wins every collision and is a top defender. I'm really pleased for him and pleased for the club (Jets). It shows again that we're doing a lot right."
I grew up in the Cook Islands, Rarotonga. My dad was a big name, so hopefully I can follow in his footsteps and make him proud.- Kayal Iro
Iro is now within touching distance of emulating his old man Kevin, who played for the Sea Eagles and Warriors and racked up over 200 UK Super League games.
"I'm very happy and stoked to be here for the next couple of years," Iro said. "I'm pleased to get it done so now I can focus on my next job and hopefully get a run (in the NRL) under Fitzy (Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon)."
Kayal recently debuted for Cooks Islands and hopes to taste more rep footy in the future. "I'm a proud Cook Islander, it was a real emotional week," he said. "My father and my brother came over, it was the first time I'd seen them in two years. I grew up in the Cook Islands, Rarotonga. My dad was a big name, so hopefully I can follow in his footsteps and make him proud."
Iro joins fellow Jets team- mates Jesse Colquhoun and Tom Hazelton in signing contract extensions at the Sharks.
You will be able to sample dozens of the finest beverages in Australia at Newtown's Beer Food Footy Festival on Saturday - but the one drop synonymous with Henson Park and the Jets won't be present. Fans won't be able to shake hands with cans of cold gold KB Lager - an iconic 70s drop favoured by Reg Reagan along others - following a falling out between brewer Carlton United and the club.
I'll let long-time Jets director Terry Rowney take the story from here: "They (CUB) agreed they'd do two production runs a year for us - one for Australia Day and one for Anzac Day. I said we'd buy enough on those two days to last us for the season, but they reneged on the deal. I see they're trying to reintroduce it but they're idiots. They should have just backed Newtown. It was a match made in heaven."
The Jets head into the BFFF on top of the NSW Cup ladder after coming from behind to beat North Sydney 20-14 in last Saturday's Frank Hyde Shield clash at Henson Park.
The Marrickville Golf Club has been smashed by Sydney's big wet, with the course closed on numerous occasions as the mopping up process continues.
So news the MGC has received a grant from Golf NSW and is also in line for a potential handout from the state government to repair some of the damage has been welcomed at the popular inner west venue.
"We're not in disaster mode like some of the worst affected courses out west, but the funding is still very much appreciated," president Andrew Tighe told us.
Stuart Fraser, CEO of Golf NSW, thanked the sport's peak bodies for helping the game get back on its feet at club level.
"While the magnitude of damage suffered by many clubs was significant, it was gratifying to receive help from the national body, Golf Australia, and the Australian PGA. We know these contributions will be vital for clubs as they begin recovery," he said.
"Inundated clubhouses being brought back to normal, greens and bunkers repaired, bridges being rebuilt that were washed away, right down to the smaller things like garden beds being brought back to life, just show how committed our golfing community is to one another."
It won't get them anywhere but you can hardly blame West Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis for exploring the club's legal options following the "daylight robbery" in Townsville last Sunday. The call to award North Queensland a match-winning penalty in the last second of the game was the worst decision this columnist can remember in more than three decades of covering rugby league.
The brave Tigers didn't deserve that ending. Good on Hagipantelis for going on the front foot and demanding justice on behalf of all Wests Tigers fans and stakeholders.
Well, it was fun while it lasted. This is the last Inside Back column in the final edition of the Inner West Review.
It's been a short but sweet journey writing about all the stars, characters and champion teams from this part of Sydney. From powerlifters to professional footballers, to artists who paint sports stars on walls, to football clubs taking on refugees, the inner west is bursting with good people doing great things in the name of sport.
Thanks to those who dropped by this page to take a read each week and/or pass on a news tip. And a big thank-you to editor Sarah Maguire, who not only took me on but worked her backside off to get this magazine out each week. As legendary ex-Newtown coach Jack Gibson would say: Played strong, done good.
See you around.
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