The Nelson Bay Gropers season is over following the decision by Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union last Thursday to 'pull the pin' on the proposed Rams Cup competition for premier clubs in 2020.
Nelson Bay Rugby Club's first grade coach, Darren Zorbas, said there was some disappointment but the decision was respected, acknowledging that the logistics in meeting coronavirus protocols were too demanding.
The Rams Cup had been scheduled to kick-off August 1 and finish on October 24, featuring eight of the nine existing clubs with Maitland not entering an open men's side.
It was an alternative campaign born out of the COVID-19 pandemic after NHRU canned their main premiership at the end of May.
However, there is still some terrific news coming out of the Groperdome with four senior Bay players - Chad Northcott, Adam Edwards, Charlie Fielder and New Zealand hard man Daniel Davis - selected to represent the Newcastle Wildfires in the tough Sydney competition, the Shute Shield.
Adam Raynor played in the seconds last Saturday two other grade players, Brendon Haddad and Corey Lovell, are attending Wildfires training this week. Two junior players, Jordon Byfield and Jason Allwood, were selected in the Wildfires colts team.
The Groper nursery continues to deliver with talented duo Jack Vincent and Boston Kerapa playing in Sydney with the north club.
FINGAL Bay Rugby League Club started their new look season in style on Saturday.
In the ladies league tag, the Bomboras produced a comprehensive 36-0 win against Swansea while the men produced an outstanding defensive effort to hold out competition heavyweights Western Suburbs 12-10 at Harker Oval.
In a very physical game, the Bomboras men built their victory with their attitude in defence, holding a slender 6-4 lead at half time. On resumption, the Rosellas launched multiple attacking raids on Fingal's line. However, the Bomboras defended six sets of six to blunt the West attack.
A first half try by Jayden Barnes and a 90m intercept try late in the second half by speedster Mitch Burcher was good enough to gain the competition points. Prop Jake Bennett with a non-stop performance up front was awarded the players' player trophy.
Women's coach Blaine O'Flaherty said he was delighted with the side's first up showing and with a fine defensive effort, they kept their try line intact. Players' player Victoria Hawthorne scored two tries with Marnie Parfit kicking five goals.
Fingal men are home this Saturday against Tall Timbers. The women play at home against Dungog.
MALLABULA Rugby League Club hosted the Dudley Magpies on Saturday. In a clash of two physical forward packs the Panthers prevailed 24-16.
Coach Cameron Scully was full of praise for the Panthers with the front row of Leigh Kelly, Mick Daniels and Connor O'Neill refusing to take a backward step. Impact player Scott Holland came off the bench and sparked plenty of attacking raids. Scott was awarded the players' player trophy for his efforts.
The Panthers ladies league tag team won by forfeit.
The Panthers men play Waratah-Mayfield and the women Stroud away on Saturday. The men's team line up will look a little bit different with three players in doubt following broken noses as a result of the tough encounter on Saturday.
RAYMOND Terrace Rugby League Club played their first game of the season on Saturday. It was a rescheduled game after their opener against Singleton the week before was cancelled due to rain.
On short notice, with the schedule only locked in by Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League on the Friday, played the Hamilton Ducks at Learmont Park. With a depleted line up, the Magpies were outclassed by the Ducks 62-16.
Despite the score, the Magpies showed plenty of character. The Terrace trailed 50-0 at half time but dug deep and won the second half 16-12. Tough front rower John Schultz scored two tries while Dean Higgins crossed for a four pointer.
The Terrace, with coach Brooke Roach and assistant Matt Shields on board, will be at full strength this weekend when they play away to Stroud Raiders.
The Ravens ladies league tag team did not play last weekend due to a game being unavailable after a number of clubs pulled out of the competition. The team is due to face Newcastle University away on Saturday.
Due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak in Port Stephens, late last week the Karuah Roos decided to withdraw its men and women's teams from the 2029 season. Raymond Terrace Rugby League Club also decided to withdraw its women's tackle team from competition.
However, across the weekend Raymond Terrace and Karuah decided to combine to field a women's tackle team, to be coached by Daniel Evans from the Roos. The Raymond Terrace Ravens ladies league tag team, which did not play at the weekend due to opponents Singleton withdrawing from the competitions, will play this season. Paul Marquet and daughter Maddy will mentor the Ravens.
The Nelson Bay Sharks will host Kurri Bulldogs at Lakeside Sporting Complex on Sunday.
Due to Tomaree No.1 match field being unavailable as the car park is being used for a drive through COVID-19 testing clinic, the Sharks will call Lakeside in Raymond Terrace home for the "next few weeks".
The ladies Blue league tag team will play at 11am and the under-19s at 12.15pm.
Raymond Terrace Junior Rugby LEague Club will be running the canteen to assist with game day catering. It will cost a gold coin donation on entry. COVID-19 sign in requirements apply.