Long-defunct rugby league club North Newcastle is on the verge of a stunning revival

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Former North Newcastle player Steve Doran in the jersey he hopes the club will wear next season.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Former North Newcastle player Steve Doran in the jersey he hopes the club will wear next season.

THE resurrection of once-mighty North Newcastle Bluebags is two steps closer to becoming a reality after the appointment of a coach and design of a jersey they plan to wear next season.

A foundation Newcastle Rugby League club in 1910, North won 15 first-grade premierships before they fell on hard times and merged with Nelson Bay in 1989.

Effectively defunct for more than a quarter of a century, they had been expected to remain so forever until a recent gathering of the club’s Old Boys.

Over a few beers, former players resolved to re-launch the Bluebags as a junior club. But those plans have been put on hold after they were surprisingly inundated with approaches from players hoping to form a senior team.

Spokesman Steve Doran, who played in North’s last grand final win in 1979, said there had been 80 inquiries from prospective players, and he was hopeful at least 30 would follow through by signing registration forms.

The club will hold a registration day at Carrington Bowling Club on Sunday, December 11, from 11am, that will also double as a reunion of former players.

Doran said former Gunnedah player Dennis Hoffman had been offered the coaching role.

“He’s coached and played in the bush, he’s a qualified personal trainer, and he’s been recommended,’’ Doran said.

GLORY DAYS: North celebrate their 1979 grand final triumph.

GLORY DAYS: North celebrate their 1979 grand final triumph.

“And quite a few of the blokes who have contacted us come from up that way, so we’re hoping he can be a bit of a drawcard for us.’’

Doran said North hoped to field at least one team in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League second-division competition.

“We’re a club built around mateship, and we want our players to play for the jersey and their community,’’ he said. “We won’t be offering anyone anything in the way of money, but what we can offer are the things money can’t buy like spirit and heart and soul.’’

He said the grade that North ended up playing in would probably depend on how they performed in pre-season trials.

The ultimate goal would be to eventually have the Bluebags return to the Newcastle RL first-grade competition.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,’’ he said.

He felt a sense of nostalgia when he tried on the specially commissioned jersey the Bluebags hoped to wear next year, designed by Central Coast sportswear manufacturers, Zibara Clothing.

Anyone interested in playing for North, or supporting the club, can contact Doran (0429 680 077) or another former player, Gary Callaghan (0408 278 883), or simply attend the registration day.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop