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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Josh Callinan

Newcastle RL: Tighe, Randell reckon Hawks ready to rise

The Northern Hawks celebrate after winning Newcastle Rugby League's reserve-grade grand final on Sunday. Picture by Peter Lorimer.
Brad Tighe
Tyler Randell

Tyler Randell reckons he's not going anywhere and "we don't want to be a reserve grade team" while Brad Tighe says "hopefully, we've done enough".

The former NRL players are key figures for the Northern Hawks and both feel like the club's ready to make the step up to Newcastle Rugby League's top-flight competition next year.

Officials have yet to make any announcements about what Newcastle RL looks like in 2023, including whether or not the Hawks become an 11th team in first grade, but are expected to meet in coming weeks.

Sunday's grand final victory at McDonald Jones Stadium, defeating Wests 20-0 in reserves, will only add to the Hawks' promotion bid having just completed their second season.

"I think it just shows how serious the Hawks are," Randell told the Newcastle Herald amid the Hawks' victory lap.

"We might have won 12 in a row towards the end of the year. We don't want to be a reserve grade team.

"We've got a lot of good, young kids here that didn't get chances at other clubs. They come to the Hawks and look what we've done with them.

"They have aspirations to play higher and I want to be part of helping them do that."

Randell, a former Knights hooker, joined the Hawks from Kurri Kurri having led the Newcastle RL player of the year points prior to 2021 being cut short by COVID.

The Hawks had also flown high in reserves last season, but were ultimately denied an upgrade to firsts around 12 months ago with NSW Rugby League knocking back the club's initial bid despite having approval from Newcastle RL.

"I've got a good relationship with Brad Tighe obviously so I was never going to go anywhere when they got knocked back to stay in reggies," Randell, who turned 30 last month, said.

"It was more important for me to play for the Hawks than to go play somewhere else just to play first grade."

Tighe, the Hawks' captain-coach who claimed the main title with Wests at the same venue in 2019, says holding this trophy aloft was a "proud moment" as the "new club" continues to build.

"If we get promoted to first grade next year hopefully this plays a part. It's out of my hands now, hopefully we've done enough," Tighe said during Sunday's celebrations.

The Northern Hawks are based out of Port Stephens, an area which has been represented in Newcastle RL by multiple entities since 1989.

Most recently it was the Sharks, until the end of 2014.

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