Sleapy's Day is one of the biggest events on the Newcastle Rugby League calendar and while it may look "a little bit different this year" organisers are determined not to let the coronavirus crisis stand in the way of the annual fundraiser.
COVID-19 restrictions mean there won't be any large gatherings and changes to the original draw mean Souths are now playing away to Wests at Harker Oval on Saturday rather than home in Merewether.
However, Lions clubman Dave Fleming said they opted to "kick the ball down field" and "press ahead" by turning the usual 24-hour affair into Weekend at Sleapy's with several smaller, self-run functions such as raffles, barbecues and trivia.
"We've had such an unbelieveable response," Fleming said.
Souths are coming off the bye. The Lions remain without injured trio Tori Freeman (knee), Harry van Dartel (foot) and Cal Orchard (quad). Wests have Pat Achurch replacing centre Heath Gibbs (pectoral).
Elsewhere and Central look set to lose halfback Matt Atkins for the rest of 2020 after he underwent surgery on a broken jaw on Friday. The Butcher Boys pivot suffered the injury in last weekend's loss to Wyong at St John Oval and coach Phil Williams said it was "disappointing" for the young player.
Williams said he was unsure whether Kurt Donoghoe, Floyd Tighe or Grant Anderson would partner five-eighth Jack Kelly against the second-placed Goannas at Cessnock Sportsground.
Cessnock welcome off-season signing Nick Newman into the starting side for his first appearance this year, lining up next to Liam Foran in the halves.
Lakes host undefeated leaders Wyong at Cahill Oval with centre Darcy Heaney, 19, making his debut for the Seagulls.
The Roos are missing Jack Stringer, who was called up to play for the North Sydney Bears in President's Cup, while Brock Molan (pectoral) and Cody Boyle (rib) return.
Maitland, who are winless after the opening five rounds, have the bye.
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