A Maitland Pickers quartet will be out to help Newcastle defend their representative rugby league title this weekend.
Jacob Sinclair, Jade Porter, Marco Delapena and Billy Towers will line up for the Rebels on Saturday afternoon when they take on Central Coast in the semi-final of the NSW Country Championships.
Sinclair and Porter were part of last year’s successful campaign while Delapena and Towers will make their senior Newcastle debut at Cessnock Sportsground.
Newcastle coach Paul Skovgaard said the talented Maitland connections would be crucial to his plans.
“Jade [Porter] has got the opportunity to start in the halves this year after being on the bench for last year’s campaign and I’m really looking forward to him stepping up at this level,” he said.
“Jacob [Sinclair] was really good for us last year and went on to make NSW Country so he has been rewarded for good form again.
“Marco [Delapena] is a young player with a good future and I remember coaching him in the under 18s so the selectors have obviously noticed him enough to put him in the senior teams.
“And Billy [Towers] was a bit of a surprise but his form has been outstanding for Maitland from all reports and now he has an opportunity to step up at this level.”
Porter will start at halfback and Sinclair in the second row while Delapena and Towers will come off the bench.
Kurri Kurri skipper Jesse Royal, and Cessnock playmakers Terence Seu Seu and Riley Brown, all have NRL backgrounds but will join the Newcastle squad for the first time.
Kick off is 12.45pm.