CENTRAL Newcastle won’t have halfback Brad Murray for their crucial clash with Macquarie on Sunday week but the Buthcer Boys will have their chief playmaker back earlier than anticipated.
Murray successfully had a dangerous throw charge downgraded by the Newcastle Rugby League judiciary on Wednesday night, halving his suspension from two games to one.
It means the 27-year-old, who was put on report for a spear tackle against Kurri at St John Oval on Sunday, can return for Central’s final round away against South Newcastle on August 26.
Meanwhile and Goannas reserve grader Tory Neville avoided facing the panel after accepting an early guilty plea this week for a grade four striking charge.
Neville’s five-match suspension was reduced to three but he still misses the rest of 2017 after being sent off for headbutting a Western Suburbs opponent at Cessnock Sportsground on Saturday.
* LAST year Sam McIntyre won a first grade premiership with South Newcastle on the wing.
This year he has lined up in the second-row for the Newcastle Knights under 20s.
But next year the Port Macquarie product will be playing elsewhere.
It is believed McIntyre and Knights teammate Heath Gibbs recently signed three-year deals with the Wests Tigers from 2018.
* CESSNOCK have fond memories of the 1977 season and claiming three premierships on grand final day.
The Goannas will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the title hat-trick with a reunion at Cessnock Leagues Club on Saturday week (August 19) from 6:30pm.
There’s also a specially-made retro-style Oak-sponsored jersey that will be worn on “old boys day”.
* THIS Saturday’s catch-up game between Cessnock and South Newcastle at Townson Oval has an early kick-off time of 2:30pm.
The result between the fifth and sixth placed teams will go a long way towards dictating the semi-final make up next month.