Nelson Bay seem unlikely to feature in the Newcastle Rugby League first grade competition next season despite recently mounting a bid to rejoin in 2017.
Next year’s draw is set for release on December 14 and Newcastle RL chief executive officer Matthew Harris said while the club may end up with teams playing under 19s, ladies league tag or second division the chance of returning to the top tier appeared slim at this stage.
“Our understanding is they won’t be entering sides in the district competition next year,” Harris said.
“We’ll still have a chat to them about and they are hopeful of having sides in the under 19s, Newcastle and Hunter as well as ladies league tag.
“So they will still exist in a some form but just because of the timeline and, obviously, we needed some pretty strict criteria about new teams entering the competition, it’s highly unlikely they will be back in the district competition.”
If the region, last represented in firsts by the Port Stephens Sharks in 2014, does field a Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League outfit they could join the likes of South Newcastle, Macquarie, Lakes and Maitland in the mix between A and D grades.
Harris said those four district clubs have indicated an interest in fielding third grade sides across those competitions next year after the decision to replace opens with ladies league tag on game day from 2017.
Round one has been confirmed for April 22 and 23.