Newcastle Rugby League season cancelled: Pickers look to play in Sydney

NO ACTION: Jarom Haines, one of the Pickers' big name recruits, may not get on the field at all this season.
NO ACTION: Jarom Haines, one of the Pickers' big name recruits, may not get on the field at all this season.

The Maitland Pickers will actively explore the possibility of playing in this season's Ron Massey Cup competition in Sydney after the Newcastle Rugby league's first grade competition was cancelled on Friday.

It marks the first time the Newcastle league has not run since the Wold War I years of 1917 and 1918.

"We want to give our players some football after all the hard work they've put in, so yes, we'll certainly be in contact with Sydney," Pickers president Frank Lawler said.

Lawler actually learned of the season cancellation on social media in mid afternoon. When he checked his emails he had received an official email from the Newcastle Rugby League just minutes earlier.

The decision came after a board meeting the night before.

"The email seems to suggest that any competition that goes ahead would have to be amateur. This would rule out the top grades."

There were suggestions the competition could proceed if players accepted a payment cap of $200 a game, but apparently this did not receive unanimous support from the clubs.

Maitland Pickers coach Matt lantry along with Cessnock's Todd Edwards both expressed their disappointment at the decision.

Macquarie coach Steve Kidd told the Newcastle Herald it was "probably the right thing to do. With the restrictions and protocols that need to be followed it was going to be difficult."

So it would seem if Maitland want any action at all this season, it will have to be the Ron Massey Cup.

The irony is that with a new coach and a number of representative quality recruitments, the Pickers were going into the season with the strongest squad they have had for a number of years.

"We want them to play. They've put in so much hard work," Mr Lawler said.

"The Ron Massey Cup is supposed to be a competition of similar standard, maybe even slightly stronger.

"We wouldn't go down there expecting to win the competition, but it would see our team out on the paddock which is what we all want."

The media release said the Under-19s and women's league tag also remain on the cards pending approval from relevant authorities.

This story Newcastle league season cancelled: Pickers explore Ron Massey Cup option first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.