Nelson Bay will take on Waratah this month, not at either of their home grounds but at Medowie.
It’s the first time premier rugby will be played on Boyd Oval in front of what’s tipped to be an appreciative crowd.
The deal was struck earlier this year between Medowie Rugby Union and Nelson Bay Rugby Union after “years of speculation”.
“Nelson Bay was at risk of falling out of premier because it had struggled to field a third grade team,” Medowie president Dwayne Murphy said.
“Lloyd Cooper [Nelson Bay] and I sat in the back room at home and talked it over but I was dead set against it to start with.”
Under the memorandum of understanding the Marauders field a third grade team on behalf of the Gropers. In return Medowie hosts two premier matches a season.
“We keep out identity,” Murphy said, of what swayed him.
“We still wear our jumpers and the thirds still get to play their home games at Boyd Oval.
“It gives Medowie a lot more exposure to the game and talking to people here, they’re eager to come down and see it.”
The players have embraced the move as well as a chance to build on their skills.
“Our thirds now have the opportunity to play up in seconds so it’s a good stepping stone for them,” Murphy said.
The match comes to Medowie on Saturday, June 17.
We haven’t had premier here before so I’ll probably be beating the juniors off with a stick, for who gets to be ball boy.
The club will celebrate the occasion with a big day of rugby with the juniors playing between 9am and noon.
Premier 3 will kick off at 12.30pm with Medowie in good form. The Marauders thumped Singleton 50-7 in round seven and will be well rested after the June long weekend bye, as they prepare to face Merewether Carlton 2.
Nelson Bay play Waratah in premier 2 at 1.45pm.
The Gropers (sixth on the ladder) then take on Waratah (fourth) in premier 1 at 3pm, in what is expected to be a close contest.
Murphy expects a good crowd.
“Medowie has invested a lot of effort and money to make the day a success and hopefully everyone who attends will enjoy themselves and watch the highest level of rugby there is in the Hunter,” he said.
“We expect there will be a lot of juniors asking their parents to hang around after their games to watch the seniors.
“We haven’t had premier here before so I’ll probably be beating the juniors off with a stick, for who gets to be ball boy.”