One of the region’s oldest sporting rivalries will be reignited when the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League season kicks off later this month.
Traditional outfits North Newcastle and South Newcastle will go head-to-head in the A-grade competition after gradings for 2017 were officially unveiled on Tuesday.
It will pit the foundation teams, who were part of the original Newcastle Rugby Leaguecompetition in 1910, against each otherfor the first time in almost three decades.
OLD RIVALS: North Newcastle v South Newcastle in first grade. Picture: Legends Of League – A History Of The Newcastle Rugby League 1908-1999.
Norths, also known as the Bluebags, have basically been defunct since merging with Nelson Bay in 1989 but have recently reformedwith inaugural Knights skipper and Kiwi international Sam Stewart on the books.
Souths, who normally play exclusively in thetop flight district competition, will be one of three clubs featuring in second divisionafter open grade, or thirds, was replaced by ladies league tag on match day for this season.
Souths will also be joined by fellow district clubs Macquarie and Maitland, who have both entered B-grade.
There are 42sides from A to D grade and another14 in ladies league tag.
Some of the new or revived entities include Aberglasslyn, Kearsley, Maitland United andMorpeth.
Round one is scheduled to start on March 31. The draw has yet to be finalised.
Last month A-grade outfit Shortlandannounced the signing of two-time NRL top-try scorer Nathan Merritt.
A-GRADE: Cardiff, Fingal Bay, Maitland United, Mallabula, North Newcastle, Shortland, South Newcastle, Swansea, Tea Gardens, Umina.
B-GRADE: Belmont South, Carrington, Dora Creek, Dudley, Macquarie, Maitland, Morpeth, University, West Wallsend, Windale.
C-GRADE: Abermain, Clarence Town, Dungog, Gloucester, Hinton, Karuah, Kearsley, Paterson River, Stockton, Stroud, Wallsend, Waratah Mayfield.
D-GRADE: Cardiff reserves; East Maitland, Glendale, Hexham, Kotara, Maitland United reserves, Raymond Terrace, Singleton, Swansea reserves, Woodberry.
LADIES LEAGUE TAG: Aberglasslyn, Cardiff, Carrington, Dora Creek, Maitland United, Mallabula, Morriset, Raymond Terrace, Shortland, Swansea, Tea Gardens, Umina, Waratah Mayfield, West Wallsend.