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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Josh Callinan

Newcastle RL regards Cessnock as last premiers from 2020

Cessnock celebrates their Newcastle Rugby League grand final win in 2020. Picture by Jonathan Carroll.

Newcastle Rugby League chairman John Crooks says he regards Cessnock as the last premiers in first grade amid what has been a disjointed three seasons.

COVID severely impacted competitions in 2020 and 2021 while heavy rainfall played havoc with this year's draw, including the postponement of Sunday's decider by a week.

Cessnock beat Souths in the 2020 grand final, culminating a shortened campaign featuring less clubs and amateur status without payments.

Play resumed as per normal in 2021, but eventually finished before semis due to the global health pandemic.

It was somewhat unclear if Cessnock or Wests, who triumphed after a full 2019 season pre COVID, would be officially honoured as the most recent title holders ahead of Maitland and Macquarie challenging for the 2022 trophy at McDonald Jones Stadium.

"In my opinion, you win a comp you win a comp," Crooks told the Newcastle Herald.

"They'll probably put an asterisks there to say it was a COVID affected competition or something like that, which I don't agree with [because] they won the comp.

"We [Newcastle RL board] haven't really discussed what that will look like in the year book."

Elsewhere, Newcastle and Hunter Community Rugby League deciders take place at Raymond Terrace on Saturday but Woodberry's Larry Taufua will be sidelined as part of a recent 12-match suspension for striking.

The Warriors meet the same opponents Dora Creek in the men's A-grade decider while Central qualified for both women's A-grade showdowns (tackle and tag).

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