LEGENDS Of League organisers are confident Saturday's tournament will attract a crowd in excess of 10,000 at McDonald Jones Stadium, despite the unfortunate clash with The Hunter race day at nearby Broadmeadow.
The inaugural $1 million 1300-metre sprint - the richest provincial race ever staged in NSW - will be run at 4.20pm Saturday.
It was announced by Racing NSW in June, barely two weeks after Legends of League had booked McDonalds Jones Stadium.
Racing officials are hoping for a crowd of 5000 to 10,000 on Saturday but Legends of League event manager Dylan Minehan said ticket sales indicated their six-team event - featuring a host of retired champions - would be well attended.
"Obviously the races will have a small impact on our crowds, but everyone knows Novocastrians love their footy," Minehan said.
"We're confident a rugby league tournament in a rugby league heartland like Newcastle will draw a very healthy crowd.
"Tickets have been selling strongly, and the weather is looking spectacular, so we're expecting a strong walk-up on Saturday.
"All things are pointing to a positive outcome at this stage."
Minehan said the first two editions of Legends of League, staged at Central Coast Stadium, had attracted crowds of 8500 and 7500.
"The attendance dropped slightly last year, which was one of the driving factors in bringing it to Newcastle," he said.
"Our ticketing data told us that the local attendance, people from the actual Central Coast region, was quite small.
"We had a lot of people travelling from Sydney.
"But if you consider that attendance figures for Knights games are incredibly high, and the large rugby league support base in Newcastle, we're confident there will be a large roll-up of locals."
A Newcastle team featuring crowd favourites like Danny Buderus, Kurt Gidley, Robbie O'Davis and Billy Peden, coached by Mark Hughes and Andrew Johns, will be intent on stopping Canterbury's bid for three consecutive titles.
Minehan was hopeful success-starved Knights fans would embrace the chance to cheer for heroes of a bygone era.
The Knights lost to the Bulldogs in the inaugural final and were eliminated in last year's semi-finals.
Newcastle play Penrith and Parramatta in their pool games.
In total, the nine-a-side tournament features six preliminary games, two semi-finals and a decider.
The first match kicks off at 1pm, and the final at 5.30pm.
A total of 90 former stars have signed to play, including Steve Menzies, Wendell Sailor, Gorden Tallis, Scott Prince, Willie Mason, Andrew Ryan, Craig Gower, Matt Sing, Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt.
The winning team will collect $75,000 in prizemoney.
A percentage of gate-takings will be donated to the tournament's charity partner, the Mark Hughes Foundation.
The event will be streamed live on Kayo Sports.