NEWCASTLE representatives will be forced to back up inside 24 hours if they play club games this weekend.
The Rebels tackle a Ron Massey Cup side at Maitland Sportsground on Friday night, but all Newcastle Rugby League matches are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
It has created a difficult scenario for both players and coaches alike in round six, and it falls between two completely clear weekends.
Less than a fortnight ago was a competition-wide, wet-weather bye while next is the June long weekend, originally set aside for under-23 NSW Country Championship commitments.
That was before Newcastle RL parted ways with Country Rugby League and aligned this season with NSW Rugby League, who liked the June 1 date to suit established breaks in the Ron Massey Cup draw.
Options spoken about recently were shifting the one-off fixture back and forth or pushing club encounters to Sunday. Neither were able to be arranged in time because of the short turnaround beyond confirmation.
Newcastle RL chief Matt Harris said while it wasn’t the ideal scenario, similar circumstances had been experienced before and organisers would attempt to “fix” the clash in 2019 by making it part of the calendar.
* APPROACHING the winter months, the 3:30pm kick-off time remains a concern for first-grade coaches. At least one set of ground lights had taken full effect with 15 minutes left to play last round.
* FUTURES round continues its link between Newcastle RL and the Knights from this weekend.
One player from each of the eight district under-19 teams will be given the opportunity to train with the NRL club’s under-20 side during the next pre-season.
Man-of-the-match awards will also be distributed this round with each of the four games being played directly prior to first grade outside the clash between the Pickers and Central, which takes place at Maitland on Friday night before the representative fixture.
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