The Jets and the Tigers man the barricades this Saturday ... and the coveted trophy is the appropriately named Solidarity Shield, recognising the industrial working-class and trade union heritage of both of these NSW Rugby League 1908 foundation clubs.
Maritime Union of Australia national office and Sydney branch are the match day co sponsors for this Saturday's Newtown-Balmain showdown.
"This caps off a great sporting week for Sydney maritime workers," said MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. " Only Tuesday we had Port Botany wharfies boxing for a good cause and raising $35,000 for the Sydney Children's Hospital, now we've got two of the city's top footy teams fighting for solidarity. We're proud to be their sponsors."
"This is a real coup and a great initiative," said MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith. "Go the JETS!!!!!"
The Newtown Jets and Balmain Tigers meet in round one of the 2010 NSW Cup at Henson Park on Saturday, with this inner-city local derby kicking off at 5.00pm.
Norths and Wests clash at 3.00pm making for a nostalgic double-header of 1908 foundation club Rugby League action at Henson Park this Saturday afternoon (13th March).
The Jets and the Tigers already compete on an annual basis for the Trevor Ryan-Neil Pringle Shield, a trophy which honours the two 1970's NSW representatives who played with distinction at both clubs. The Ryan-Pringle Shield is currently in the possession of the Tigers.
This year the second trophy comes into contention between the two clubs, with the announcement that the MUA will be the sponsor for the Newtown-Balmain showdown, and for subsequent Jets-Tigers matches at Henson Park.
The MUA recognises the long histories of both football clubs and the glorious contributions of the working class populations of the Newtown and Balmain areas to trade unionism, community activism and to Rugby League football over the past 102 years.
The special trophy has been instituted for Saturday's inner-city local derby – the Solidarity Cup – which will be contested by the two historic clubs whenever they face off at Henson Park.
"The Newtown RLFC hails the generous contribution of one of Australia’s most famous and iconic trade unions, the Maritime Union of Australia, which has agreed to sponsor the Newtown Jets-Balmain Tigers round one NSW Cup clash, the Jet's media release said on the day.
"It's a magnificent golden cup which will do the concept of the Solidarity Cup proud," said Glen Dwyer, Newtown RLFC. "The MUA logo is on the base of the cup along with the Newtown Jets and Balmain Tigers logos, with of course a suitable description of the nature of the trophy.
"I'd like to express the sincere appreciation of the Newtown Jets Rugby League Football Club to the Maritime Union of Australia for agreeing to be the match-day sponsor for this local derby between two of the oldest clubs in the Rugby League game, Newtown and Balmain. It just goes to show that no problem is insurmountable for the men and women of the MUA!"
Newtown Rugby League Football Club was formed on January 8, 1908, at an overflow public meeting in the Newtown Town Hall.
The Club is very proud of its special heritage and the fact that it is the oldest Rugby League football club in Australia.
Balmain Tigers, was formed the same year in the heart of the community of maritime workers. The club was also known as The Watersiders in its earlier days.
King Street (Newtown ) and Darling Street (Balmain) might be thoroughly gentrified boulevards now in comparison to 102 years ago, but you can be sure that when these two doughty old clubs come to grips on Saturday afternoon at the decidedly non-gentrified Henson Park, all social pretensions will be cast aside.
Saturday's program at Henson Park is:
11.30am - Harold Matthews Cup - Sydney Roosters v South Sydney 1.00pm - SG Ball Cup - Sydney Roosters v South Sydney 3.00pm - NSW Cup - North Sydney v Western Suburbs
5.00pm - NSW Cup - Newtown v Balmain (First leg of the 2010 Ryan-Pringle Shield, plus the inaugural Maritime Union of Australia Solidarity Shield decider).