The Defenders are a team of the COVID era.
The under-13 basketball side met on Zoom for the first time on Monday night and played their first game at Broadmeadow two days later.
Their opponents, Nothing But Netflix, scored on the buzzer to tie the game 16-16.
"It was nice to get out and do something normal," mum and first-time coach Kenna Jefferson said.
The players had all signed up for Newcastle Basketball's summer competition without belonging to teams.
"We had a big chat on Zoom on Monday with all the parents and boys," Kenna said.
"We had hoped to have a training session, but today was the first time they'd met each other."
Junior sport is bursting backing into life after months of lockdown in the Hunter, and the NSW government has answered calls to ease the transition with a higher cap on outdoor venues.
Cricket, Oz Tag and little athletics will resume in coming weeks, and most sports are reporting little change in participation.
Newcastle Junior Cricket Association president Andrew Cornwell said about 1500 players had registered for the summer season, on par with recent years.
"We're confident we'll be able to run a full season, and we're looking forward to a good year," he said.
He said registrations had been slow initially before a "late rush" in time for the first match day on October 30.
NJCA will run its first girls-only league this year.
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Stockton Surf Life Saving Club administration director Callan Nickerson said nippers registrations were "going through the roof" and were on target to beat last year's mark of 187.
"it's good to give people an outlet after they've been locked down for a few months," he said.
Hunter Surf Life Saving boss Rhonda Scruton said numbers across the region were strong but would be down on pre-COVID levels.
"I was really concerned two weeks ago, but now it's looking very healthy," she said. "There's a real enthusiasm to get back down to the beach and see friends after being isolated so long."
Adamstown New Lambton Athletics Club president Tim Jessup said uncertainty over start-up dates and COVID-19 rules had slowed down registrations, but numbers were now picking up.
He said the decision on Wednesday to raise crowd caps for community sport from 200 to 1000 had helped clubs push ahead with organising competitions.
Adamstown New Lambton has registered 80 juniors for little athletics and will start competition at Alder Park on November 5.
Newcastle Basketball tipped off its summer junior seasons on Wednesday with a record number of teams.
Development manager Brett Keeble said the junior summer competitions had grown from 85 teams when they started in 2019 to 155 last year and 220 this year.
"We've been blown away," he said.
"COVID has been a big part of it because people are desperate to get back out, but it's also down to the boom in basketball in Australia with Aussies in the NBA and the Boomers and the Opals at the Olympics."
Newcastle Oz Tag has attracted a record 52 teams to its junior competitions starting next Thursday in Smith Park, Hamilton.
"It's looking really good, actually," organiser Rhiannon Howard said.
"The kids seem very keen and can't wait to get out there. We're very pleased with the numbers."
The association will also have 135 senior teams, which is similar to past years.
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