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NEWRL GALLERY: Abracadabra, Magic Round will return in 2025

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Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (NEWRL) general manager Adam Devcich promises Magic Round is “here to stay”.

But, in what format will be determined further down the track.

A big crowd converged on No. 2 Sportsground at the weekend for the inaugural event, entitled the Beer Food and Footy Festival, which involved 10 of the 11 Denton Engineering Cup participants.

While the South Newcastle Lions had the bye for the season opener, The Entrance Tigers held off a fast-finishing Lakes United Seagulls 28-24, the Wyong Roos pipped the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 25-24, the Maitland Pickers prevailed 20-10 over the Northern Hawks, the Cessnock Goannas overpowered a new-look Macquarie Scorpions 26-6 and the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys saw off the Western Suburbs Rosellas 22-8.

Kurri Kurri forward Jack Tamburrini grabbed a vital four-pointer in his side’s clash with the Wyong Roos. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“I thought it was a terrific day… and a great starting point,” Devcich said.

“All the feedback I’ve received has been positive.

“I got a whole bunch of text messages, even from Saturday morning to say what a cool concept it was or is.

“The guys at Newtown have been staging a similar event in Sydney for about eight years.

“They started with about 2,000 – at their first crack – and now it’s more than 10,000 people.

“So, from my perspective, the weekend was a really good place to start.

“I know some reported a crowd of 4,000-plus, but it was more around 3,000.

“However, I think you can take it as read that it’ll be an annual event moving forward.

“We must now decide where it fits in.

“Should we kick off the season with Magic Round, host it later in the year or do we involve the women’s competition, too?

“So, there’s plenty to consider and I probably don’t have all the answers right now.

“But, the concept itself, putting footy as a backdrop to a festival, is here to stay.”

No. 2 Sportsground was the perfect location for the inaugural Newcastle Rugby League Magic Round. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Devcich said all the NEWRL clubs also deserved a pat on the back for supporting Magic Round.

“Quite simply, what we did doesn’t get off the ground without five organisations giving up a home game,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“So, it’s a big deal to some of the clubs, especially when they’re trying to raise funds.

“I can’t thank The Entrance, Wyong, Wests, Macquarie and the Hawks enough.

“We couldn’t host Magic Round if not for their respective sacrifices.”

The Seagulls and Tigers locked horns, and flew high, during Magic Round at the weekend. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

The attention now turns to the rest of 2024, with Devcich anticipating another massive year.

“There’s a lot of talk about Newcastle Rugby League, with a number of ex-NRL players in our ranks,” he said.

“That, in itself, is fantastic.

“However, we move into round two this weekend.

“And, then jump into Anzac Day fixtures.

“We’re hosting three matches on Thursday 25 April for the first time, too.

“They’ll be played at Cessnock, Central Newcastle and Souths.

“Then, from there, it’s business as usual.

“We’ll also have a finalised draw for the Oporto Women’s Premiership during the week, so it’s full steam ahead.”

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

NEWRL Magic Round results:

  • The Entrance Tigers 28 (Tony Pellow 2, Harrison Mulligan, Blake Austin, Fuaimamao Uta tries; Harrison Mulligan 4 goals) d Lakes United Seagulls 24 (Cahleb Faulkner 3, Ryan Potts tries; Jack Kelly 4 goals)
  • Wyong Roos 25 (Malie-J Townsend 2, Kyle Tukapua, Lathan Hutchison-Walters, Sione Vaenuku tries; Hutchison-Walters 2 goals, Bayden Searle field goal) d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 24 (Brodie Linnane, Liam Dalibozek, Jack Tamburrini, Josh Griffiths, Jesse Wighton tries; Blake Ferguson 2 goals)
  • Maitland Pickers 20 (Ethan Parry 2, Will Nieuwenhuise, Sam Anderson tries; Brock Lamb 2 goals) d Northern Hawks 10 (David Dryden, Danny Vale tries; Ethan Ferguson goal)
  • Cessnock Goannas 26 (Joe Woodbury, Mitchell Shaw, Harvey Neville, Wyatt Shaw, Addison Peel tries; Harvey Spence 3 goals) d Macquarie Scorpions 6 (Malik Deyaolu try; Lucas Thomson goal)
  • Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 22 (Logan Radzievic, Ty Fletcher, Cameron Anderson, Nicholas Ritter tries; Radzievic 3 goals) d Western Suburbs Rosellas 8 (Dyllan Parlane, Patrick Achurch tries)
  • Bye: South Newcastle Lions

Round two draw:

Saturday 20 April

  • 3pm: Lakes United Seagulls v Western Suburbs Rosellas (Cahill Oval)
  • 3pm: Macquarie Scorpions v Northern Hawks (Lyall Peacock Field)
  • 3pm: Maitland Pickers v Kurri Kurri Bulldogs (No. 1 Sportsground)
  • 3pm: Wyong Roos v The Entrance Tigers (Morry Breen Oval)

Sunday 21 April

  • 3pm: South Newcastle Lions v Central Newcastle Butcher Boys (Townson Oval)
  • Bye: Cessnock Goannas

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