Newcastle Rugby League: Wyong's return keeps expansion on agenda beyond 2020

FLASHBACK: Justin Toomey-White playing for the Wyong Roos in 2012. Picture: David Stewart
FLASHBACK: Justin Toomey-White playing for the Wyong Roos in 2012. Picture: David Stewart

Chief executive officer Matt Harris said discussions about Wyong joining the Newcastle Rugby League competition on a more permanent basis beyond this year remain ongoing.

Those talks may become somewhat easier now with the Roos returning to Newcastle RL this week after Central Coast District Rugby League canned their senior season on Saturday.

Wyong and fellow Central Coast club The Entrance, who announced earlier this month they wouldn't field any sides, had already been on the Newcastle RL radar before the coronavirus crisis.

Harris said the COVID-19 pandemic hadn't stopped that idea, but admitted the main focus at the moment was organising and running an alternative campaign for 2020 after the main Newcastle RL premiership was recently cancelled.

EXPERIENCE: Brock Molan playing for the Wyong Roos in 2013. Picture: David Stewart

EXPERIENCE: Brock Molan playing for the Wyong Roos in 2013. Picture: David Stewart

Six existing Newcastle RL clubs, minus Macquarie and Kurri Kurri, are taking part in the amateur competition with Wyong now back after seven seasons away mainly as a feeder club for the Sydney Roosters in NSW Cup.

"It [expansion] is something we have been discussing at a board level and a club level for the last 18 months," Harris said.

"There had been a bit of talk around it before this year but the lateness of the merger between NSWRL and Country RL meant nothing eventuated.

"At the moment it's not at the forefront of mind, it's more just getting this year up and running, but from a Newcastle RL point of view there's definitely interest there about involvement down the track."

Wyong meet Wests at Harker Oval on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Newcastle Hunter Community Rugby League administrator Dave Wild said coronavirus concerns saw Group 21 sides Greta Branxton and Singleton both withdraw from the A-grade competition this week.

The already delayed 2020 season, which had been scheduled to get underway last weekend, is now set to kick off this weekend with Dora Creek at home to University, West Wallsend visiting Thornton-Beresfield and Glendale hosting Central Coast newcomers North Lakes. Maitland United have the bye.

Woy Woy had expressed interest in joining as well but ultimately didn't enter a team.