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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Josh Callinan

Newcastle Rugby League lock in GF venue until 2026

Newcastle Rugby League players at McDonald Jones Stadium before the 2018 grand final. Picture by Marina Neil.

Newcastle Rugby League will continue hosting grand finals at McDonald Jones Stadium until 2026 as part of a five-year deal.

Sunday's season showdowns, the first held at the Turton Road facility since 2019 because of COVID, signals the start of the latest agreement between Newcastle RL and Venues NSW.

Newcastle RL chairman John Crooks said he was pleased to be kicking off another chapter at the famed location.

"We signed a five-year deal 12 months ago, but we didn't play there last season because of COVID. We've just bumped that out so it starts now," Crooks said.

Newcastle RL played deciders at McDonald Jones Stadium between 2015 and 2019, however, COVID saw 2020 moved to Maitland after a shortened campaign while 2021 finished early due to the global health pandemic.

No.1 Sportsground had been the traditional home of Newcastle RL grand finals.

"No.1 was just costing too much for what we were getting and workload on the volunteers was too much, so we decided to move to McDonald Jones and it's a bit more professional," Crooks said.

"Quality stadium, quality dressing sheds, quality facilities for spectators, quality facilities for corporate. It's a win-win we think."

Maitland and Macquarie meet in first grade. Northern Hawks, Wests and Lakes are in the earlier title contests.

"There's five different clubs playing so we should get a good spread of spectators," Crooks said.

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