Rugby league: Newcastle RL expects to be in the black in 2019 on the back of Leagues Club sale

Newcastle RL CEO Matt Harris says his organisation will be turning a profit in 2019 off the back of the sale of the Newcastle Leagues Club and are pushing ahead with plans to affiliate with the NSW Rugby League.

The Leagues Club sale was finalised just prior to Christmas, fetching close to $2.5 million, in a massive boost to the Newcastle RL’s dwindling financial reserves which have been eaten into after several tough years without additional funding.

Harris said his board will meet next week to formalise a plan to re-invest the money from the sale.

He revealed the likely return on the investment coupled with their normal revenue streams will see the Newcastle RL in the black during the 2019 season.

“The Leagues Club settled on the Monday before Christmas and now we need to sit down and plan the best way to re-invest that money,”he said.

“It certainly puts us in a far stronger position financially and I’m confident we will be turning a profit in 2019 with the return on the investment.

“But there is a lot to be done obviously. We’ll also be having further discussions with the NSWRL about affiliating with them possibly as early as next week.

Harris said NSWRL agreed to the affiliation last month on the proviso the clubs and referees’ association were unanimous in agreement with the move to sever ties with the CRL.

The plan also had to have the backing of Wests Group and the Newcastle Knights.

“We have ticked all those boxes. All their requirements have been met so it is our expectation that it will be all systems go,”he said.

Harris said he doesn’t expect rumoured merger talks between the NSWRL and the CRL or any move by the CRL to block the move to delay the affiliation process.

“I don’t think it is any secret we support the model that his the single spine – the same model that the Queensland Rugby League has,”he said.

“The sooner the merger happens the better. But I don’t believe those talks will hold up our affiliation process.”

The Newcastle Herald understands at least two other CRL-run competitions are also in talks with the NSWRL.

Boost: Newcastle RL CEO Matt Harris says his organisation is now in a much stronger financial position.

Boost: Newcastle RL CEO Matt Harris says his organisation is now in a much stronger financial position.