The Hinton Hornets will kick off its 2018 Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League season with a special game that will honour the Anzacs and Defence community living in the area, plus raise funds for charity.
The Anzac round on Saturday, April 21 will be the first event in what is anticipated to be a big season, on and off the paddock, for the Hornets.
“We wanted to give back to the local community and support the Defence guys,” the club’s secretary, Emily Greene, said. “We have a big community of Defence in the area.”
The Hornets host a fund-raising round each year. In the past the club has supported beyondblue, and charities for SIDS and breast cancer.
This year, money raised from the game will be donated to Soldier On. Kick off at Stuart Park will be 2pm.
The Hornets, who played in C-grade last season, will face the Morpeth Bulls on April 21 in what has been labelled a “battle of the bridges”.
The cost to get into the game will be a gold coin donation.
The Last Post will be played before the game, there will be cheerleaders and school children will sing the National Anthem.
“The layout of it is going to be a lot like an NRL game,” Greene said. “There’s going to be a lot happening on the day. We’re really excited about it.”
Following the game, the Hornets’ specially-made Anzac jerseys will be auctioned off at the Victoria Hotel. There will also be other raffles and the Melbourne Street band will be playing in the beer garden.
A courtesy bus will be running between the pub and oval from 1pm.
For the first time in the club’s history, former Hornets players have been brought together to form an old boys community. More than 50 old boys have rejoined the club, and will help out during the Anzac round.
Hornets captain and coach Ben Rigby said it was “exciting” to see the renewed interest from past players and the community in the club.
“We wanted to get thee guys back involved with the club,” he said. “Once we suggested it, they were all to happy to help. They’ll be down here for the first game helping to set up and look after the gate.”
The Anzac round and old boys formation is part of the club’s efforts to rebuild after a bad end to the 2017 season which saw its former treasurer in court after being accused of fraudulently taking $8,500 from the rugby league club.
The game precedes the opening round of the NHRL season, which begins April 27.