There’s more to play for than just glory in the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) this season.
With 10 teams – Central Newcastle Butcher Boys, Cessnock Goannas, Kurri Kurri Bulldogs, Lakes United Seagulls, Macquarie Scorpions, Maitland Pickers, South Newcastle Lions, The Entrance Tigers, Western Suburbs Rosellas and Wyong Roos – contesting the NSWRL Denton Cup, motivation for success is extremely high in 2021.
The premiers will also represent the Northern Conference in the President’s Cup in September.
The tournament was re-introduced by the NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) last year and proved to be a great hit with the Matt Lantry-coached Pickers defeating the Glebe-Burwood Wolves 17-16 in the grand final, with Brock Lamb kicking the victorious field goal.
This season’s re-modified format sees the Ron Massey Cup representing the Central Conference, the Denton Cup the Northern Conference and the Illawarra Cup the Southern Conference.
The winners of each conference, and a wildcard side, will then face off in semi-finals before the prestigious decider at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday 26 September.
“It is fantastic to have the Newcastle-based teams join the Ron Massey Conference,” NSWRL head of football Robert Lowrie said at the official launch of the Real NRL last week.
“They’ll get the opportunity to play against some quality opposition, as well as their own local sides.
“The Maitland Pickers won the President’s Cup last year and were one of the strongest squads.
“So, I’m sure the Pickers and the other nine teams in the Northern Conference will provide plenty of entertaining rugby league throughout the season, especially since many of the clubs boast rosters which include players not long retired from the NRL.
“The fact that Fijian side the Kaiviti Silktails are playing in the Ron Massey Central Conference means that the players will also potentially come up against some international opposition.”