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REAL NRL: Sleapy’s Day expected to break all records in 2023

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One of the biggest events on the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) calendar is set to break all records this weekend.

While Sleapy’s Day remains a juggernaut itself – the much-loved fundraiser has amassed and distributed almost $1 million since its humble beginnings in 2010, the 13th edition will pit the competition’s top two teams against each other at Townson Oval on Saturday 29 July.

Frontrunners Maitland Pickers are travelling to the South Newcastle Lions’ den, with a massive crowd expected to witness the inaugural showdown between the clubs on that special occasion.

Maitland Pickers president John Gorman and premiership-winning front-rower James Taylor, who is a former South Newcastle Lion. Photo: Rod Thompson

“We were keen to be a part of Sleapy’s Day,” president John Gorman said.

“And, everyone’s looking forward to it, too.

“We’ve had a lot of old boys who have played at Souths and whatnot, including our current front-rower James Taylor.

“So, they’ve been on our case for the past couple of years to find out how we could get involved with it.

“Then, when we were approached about it at the start of this season, we jumped at the opportunity.”

Gorman was quick to praise the founder of Sleapy’s Foundation, and ex-Lion, Peter Sleap.

“It’s such a good charity,” he said.

“They’re doing great work in the community… Peter, Dave (Fleming), Robynn (Sleap) and their team.

“The support they receive these days is just through the roof.

“I know people are coming from Merriwa, and all over the place, to be there on Saturday.

“So, that says how highly-regarded Sleapy’s Foundation and Sleapy’s Day are… it’s massive.

“From a Maitland perspective, all the guys are pumped about it.

“The Pickers are going to have a lot of support at Townson Oval, too.

“We’ve organised several buses to bring our supporters over.”

Peter Sleap with Dan Langbridge, James Taylor and Andrew Hughes (aka Chad O’Donnell). Photo: Rod Thompson

What isn’t lost in translation is the fact there are two competition points, and bragging rights, up for grabs.

Maitland, following its 44-4 victory over the Northern Hawks, wrapped up the minor premiership, with Souths, fresh from a bye, sitting in second on the ladder.

“One versus two, it couldn’t have been planned any better,” Gorman told the Newcastle Weekly.

“We can’t wait.

“The Lions are in red-hot form at the moment, 10 wins on the trot, so we know what we’re in for.

“And, to be honest, we’ve been off a little bit lately.

“So, this will be a real good test for us – to see where we’re at – before we head into the play-offs.”

In other fixtures, Kurri Kurri hosts Cessnock, Macquarie will welcome its Old Boys for its clash with the Hawks, and Wyong locks horns with Wests on 29 July.

Then, on Sunday, Lakes United faces The Entrance Tigers.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

Denton Engineering Cup

Round 16 results:

  • Western Suburbs Rosellas d Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 28-26
  • Cessnock Goannas d Wyong Roos 24-16
  • Maitland Pickers d Northern Hawks 44-4
  • Lakes United Seagulls d Macquarie Scorpions 34-22
  • The Entrance Tigers d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 38-14
  • Bye: South Newcastle Lions

Round 17 draw:

Saturday 29 July

  • 3pm: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs v Cessnock Goannas (Kurri Kurri Sports Ground)
  • 3pm: Macquarie Scorpions v Northern Hawks (Lyall Peacock Field)
  • 3pm: Wyong Roos v Western Suburbs Rosellas (Morry Breen Oval)
  • 3pm: South Newcastle Lions v Maitland Pickers (Townson Oval)

Sunday 30 July

  • 3pm: Lakes United Seagulls v The Entrance Tigers (Cahill Oval)
  • Bye: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys

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