Mitch Williams back in Newcastle Rugby League as Wyong Roos' captain-coach after Central Coast competition cancelled

RETURN: Wyong captain-coach Mitch Williams playing for the Central Coast club in the 2010 Newcastle Rugby League competition. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
RETURN: Wyong captain-coach Mitch Williams playing for the Central Coast club in the 2010 Newcastle Rugby League competition. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

As an under-20s graduate, Mitch Williams remembers his "physical" introduction to Newcastle Rugby League and how "tough" it was each week.

He also recalls "one of the craziest grand finals ever" in 2009.

Now 32 and after seven years away, Williams returns to the same competition with the same club but this time as captain-coach of his beloved Wyong Roos.


"It's been an interesting first year of coaching, that's for sure," Williams told the Newcastle Herald. "We didn't expect any of this."

Newcastle RL boss Matt Harris confirmed Wyong would join the competition on Wednesday and it comes after the Central Coast District Rugby League cancelled their senior season over the weekend amid the coronavirus crisis.

Wyong, who played Newcastle RL between 2003 and 2012 before joining NSW Cup for six years as a feeder club for the Sydney Roosters, recently considered not fielding any sides in 2020.

Williams said he's lost several quality players from last year's squad, including Terence Seu Seu, but has picked up Knights lower graders Luke Sharpe and Jaron Purcell while experienced campaigners like Jake Lewis have committed.

"We're a lot younger than we normally are, but it's a good opportunity for some of our juniors to step up," he said.

Wyong have been drawn to meet Western Suburbs at Harker Oval on Sunday.

"It will be a tough test straight up, but we're just grateful to be playing," Williams said.

The rest of round two is set to stay the same. Saturday sees the Pickers host Central at Maitland Sportsground and Cessnock away to Souths at Townson Oval. Lakes have the bye.

Harris said Newcastle RL were still working on this season's remaining fixtures.

Wyong aren't the only Central Coast club on the move this year with North Lakes joining the Newcastle Hunter Community Rugby League A-grade competition for 2020. The Warriors were confirmed as starters on Wednesday.

However, Woy Woy initially expressed interest in playing NCHRL this week but the Roosters now aren't participating.

In another blow for the A-grade competition, NCHRL administrator David Wild said that Group 21 outfits Singleton and Greta-Branxton have both withdrawn.

The Greyhounds and Colts originally signed up after their normal Upper Hunter competition was canned last month.

This leaves A-grade with seven sides, including defending premiers Dora Creek led by former Knights prop Tyrone Amey.

Play is scheduled to get underway this weekend after the opening round was called off Saturday morning.