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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Newcastle City ready to give AFL rivals the ‘Blues’

The Newcastle City juggernaut is set to continue in the 2021 AFL Hunter Central Coast (AFLHCC) season, according to Blues senior coach Jon Clark.

Despite participating in a COVID-19 impacted competition, in 2020, the local organisation contested three grand finals last October.

The women’s outfit knocked over Killarney Vale 6.6 (42) to 3.7 (25) to secure the Black Diamond Cup, while Terrigal Avoca upset the men’s teams in the Black Diamond Cup and Black Diamond Plate deciders.

And, the Blues are keen to maintain that momentum.

“It was definitely a hard year, I think everyone will tell you that,” Clark said.

“But, it’s full credit to the whole men’s and women’s squads to tough it out for the entire season.

“Obviously, we had to have a few months’ break and then get back into the swing of things.

“So, to have three sides in the grand final – out of four – was a great effort for the club.

“We’re always there or thereabouts in the comp each year.

“However, that success bodes well for 2021.”

Clark said he was expecting to witness “more of the same” when AFLHCC kicks off again on Saturday 10 April.

“I think every club is in the same boat at the moment,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“You lose a few players, then you’ll gain a few.

“And, the ones Newcastle City has picked up will add fresh faces to the football.

“It’s great for the league.

“It’s good to see new blood and a terrific advertisement for the code, in general, in the region.”

Revenge could be high on the Blues’ list, too, with the Black Diamond Cup troops suffering a 10.16 (76) loss to Terrigal Avoca.

It was a similar story in the Black Diamond Plate with the same opponents prevailing 11.10 (76) to 7.5 (47).

“The men are looking very strong,” Clark said.

“We’ve picked up a couple of past players, who’ve come back to the fold.

“One notable addition is Mitch Crawford.

“He’s won a number of AFLHCC league medals in the past – and he’s returning from college football (NFL).

“He is a big pick-up for the code.

“Plus, we’ve got a few of our senior players like Conor Haswell and Matt Bailey sticking around.”

As for the women, the team which Clark mentors, they’re eyeing off a piece of history.

“We’re aiming for a three-peat in 2021, which would be nice,” he said.

“There is a bit of pressure on us, no doubt about that.

“Everyone wants to be there [at the top], so there’s probably a target on our back.

“For us, in the female side of things, we’ve got 20 new faces to AFL and a new reserve grade coach.

“Having said that, our leadership group is just solid.

“The culture around Newcastle City, for me, is what makes the teams go that one step further each year.”

With the core alliance still intact, Clark believes that will hold the women in good stead in 2021.

“We’ve lost a few talented players including Sarah Halvorsen and Caitlin Holcombe,” he said.

“They’re a couple of our elite stars, however they’re going travelling around Australia this year.

“They are two big losses.

“But, it also represents opportunities, especially for our juniors coming through.

“I think they’re going to shine – and show that they are ready-made footballers.

“That’s one path that we’re really trying to go down as a club.

“Bringing our juniors up into the senior ranks.

“It’s an exciting time for everyone associated with the Newcastle City Blues.”

2021 Black Diamond Cup

(Saturday 10 April)

  • Newcastle City v Terrigal Avoca (TBA)
  • Killarney Vale v Gosford (Adelaide Stree Oval)
  • Nelson Bay v Cardiff (Dick Burwell Oval)
  • Warners Bay v Maitland (Feighan Oval)
  • BYE Singleton

2021 Black Diamond Cup Women’s

(Saturday 10 April)

  • Newcastle City v Terrigal Avoca (TBA)
  • Warners Bay v Maitland (Feighan Oval)
  • Lake Macquarie v Cardiff (Tulkaba Park)
  • Bye: Killarney Vale
  • Bye: Wyong Lakes

2021 Black Diamond Plate

(Saturday 10 April)

  • Newcastle City v Terrigal Avoca (TBA)
  • The Entrance Bateau Bay v Wallsend – West Newcastle (Bateau Bay Sports Facility)
  • Lake Macquarie v Cardiff (Tulkaba Park)
  • Muswellbrook v Gosford (Weeraman Field)

2021 Black Diamond Plate Women’s

(Saturday 10 April)

  • Newcastle City v Terrigal Avoca (TBA)
  • The Entrance Bateau Bay v Wallsend – West Newcastle (Bateau Bay Sports Facility)
  • Nelson Bay/Port Stephens v Cardiff (Dick Burwell Oval)
  • Muswellbrook v Gosford (Weeraman Field)

2021 Black Diamond Shield

(Saturday 10 April)

  • Warners Bay v Maitland (Feighan Oval)
  • Killarney Vale v Gosford (Adelaide Street Oval)

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