Newcastle Rugby League have left the door open for expansion and a possible joint venture with Central Coast Rugby League in 2021 or beyond, but the first grade competition will remain the same next season.
Following last week's official draw release, Newcastle RL chief executive officer Matt Harris said potential changes to the current structure and format would more than likely be discussed throughout 2020.
Harris said October's historic merger between NSW Rugby League and Country Rugby League, which means the sport is now governed by one state body, has allowed Newcastle and Central Coast to entertain working together in the future.
"The reality was, after the [state] merger, it was too late to try and rush something through for 2020," Harris said.
"You need to allow sufficient time for any changes like this to take place. So next year will stay the same [in Newcastle], but it could be an option the year after that or further down the track.
"Now that we're all under the one banner [NSWRL and CRL] it makes it even possible. It's something we will probably start looking at and talking about next year."
No details have been released in terms of how any new competition would look.
Newcastle RL is made up of Central, Cessnock, Kurri, Lakes, Macquarie, Maitland, Souths and Wests.
It has been an eight-team competition since 2015 after the Port Stephens Sharks dropped out.
Berkeley Vale, Erina, Kincumber, Northern Lakes, Ourimbah, Terrigal, Woy Woy and Wyong made up the Central Coast first grade competition in 2019.
In the meantime, Newcastle RL scrapped a ballot system for the allocation of two additional rounds next season with clubs selecting opponents based on this year's rankings. Wooden spooners Lakes went first and picked Central, Kurri chose a Coalfields derby against Cessnock while premiers Wests were left with Souths.
Elsewhere, the Nelson Bay Sharks hope to field a men's under-19 team next year.