Winter joy as Cessnock's wait for footy finally ends

BACK: Cessnock and Kurri Kurri will resume their great rivalry on field in a revised amateur Newcasle Rugby League competition this season.
BACK: Cessnock and Kurri Kurri will resume their great rivalry on field in a revised amateur Newcasle Rugby League competition this season.

The long wait is over for football fans with the return of the two rugby codes and soccer to playing fields across the Cessnock Shire next month.

Soccer is first into action with the Weston Bears and Cessnock Hornets kicking off in the Northern NSW NPL and NEWFM Northern League One competitions back from July 11-12.

Reconfigured rugby league competitions return from July 18 and rugby union is back on July 25.

The Cessnock Goannas and Kurri Kurri Bulldogs will square off in a revised amateur competition under the auspices of the Newcastle Rugby League. The competition will feature two men's tiers, women's Blues Tag and under-19s.

The Goannas will not field an under-19s team and may be restricted to one senior men's team as well as a Blues Tag. The Bulldogs are expected to field a full complement of teams.

Greta-Branxton Colts and the Singleton Greyhounds will both field two men's teams and ladies league tag teams in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League competition after Group 21 decided against holding a comp this season.

The Kearsley Crushers are also part of the NHRL, however, the Abermain Hawks have opted not to field a team this season.

The Weston Bears kick off their 13-game season at home when they host Newcastle Olympic on Sunday, July 12.

The Bears are in action this Sunday with a trail match at home against Valentine.

The draw for the first nine rounds of the NPL season has been released with the competition to be split into two pools of five and the remaining four home and away games before a four-week top-five finals series.

Soccer halted its competitions just three-days before the Bears were set to kick the NPL season off under lights at home against Valentine on Thursday, March 18.

The Hornets won their opening game 3-1 over Singleton and then had a bye before the long lay-off. They resume the now 15-game regular season hosting the Thornton Redbacks at Turner Park on Sunday, July 12.

Rugby union resumes on July 25 with the Pokolbin Reds expecting to field a team in either a revised 10-game divisional or premier 3 competition which will be followed by finals. The Reds resumed training on Tuesday night.