Footy fans will get their first glimpse of the new-look Kurri Kurri Bulldogs and Maitland Pickers sides at the annual A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Nines at Kurri Kurri Sportsground on Saturday.
Twelve teams, including Newcastle RL sides Kurri, Maitland, Lakes United, Central Newcastle, South Newcastle and Macquarie Scorpions, are competing.
A host of new teams are taking part this year including the Singleton Greyhounds from Group 21, the Toukley Hawks from the Central Coast, Narwan Eels and Fijian team Nabukavesi Babas.
Event organiser Mick Campton said there was huge interest in how Maitland and Kurri Kurri fare after their big off-seasons of recruiting.
Jarom Haines returns to The Graveyard in Pickers' colours and former Pickers Geordie Connelly and Hayden Grainger are expected to line up for the Bulldogs.
Pickers coach Matt Lantry has named an exciting squad which will have pace to burn and plenty of talented ball players.
Exciting fullback Greg Morris with his explosive and decisive kick returns is ideally suited for the Nines format and fans may get a glimpse of how he will combine in the backs with Haines.
The backs include Elija Resiga, Gary Anderson, Elliot Jennings in his first game back from a year overseas, Reeve Howard, James Bradley and Josh Cagney.
There's plenty of combinations for the halves with Haines, Tyler Perrin, Daniel Langbridge and Tyler Rush. In the middle of the field Alex Langbridge and Joel Hafey will share the hooking duties.
There's loads of power in the forwards with back-rowers Marco Delapena, Pat Mata'utia and Cody Edstein Boyes and the front-rowers Jayden Butterfield, Peter Cronin, Ben McIllwrath and Ethan Edwards.
Cessnock and last year's Nines' title holders Western Suburbs are the only Newcastle RL teams missing. Both teams were unable to commit because of NSW Challenge Cup commitments.
The competition will be divided into three pools, with the top team from each pool and the best performed second-placed team to advance to the semi-finals.
Pool A is shaping as the toughest with Newcastle RL teams Maitland, Central Newcastle and Macquarie Scorpions drawn with the Toukley Hawks.
Pool B features Kurri, Lakes United, Singleton and the Newcastle All Blacks.
Pool C is made up of South Newcastle, Narwan Eels, Nabukavesi Babas and Maree Kelly Allstars.
The winners will take home the $5000 first prize, with $1000 for runners up.
Tickets are $5 for adults and kids are free.
The first match is at 10am with pool matches running through to 4pm. Games are of two nine-minute halves.
10am Toukley Hawks v Central Newcastle
10.20am Maitand Pickers v Macquarie Scorpions
10.40am Kurri Kurri v Singleton Greyhounds
11am Lakes United v Newcastle All Blacks
11.20am South Newcastle v Narwan Eels
11.40am South Newcastle v Maree Kelly Allstars
Noon Toukley Hawks v Maitland Pickers
12.20pm Macquarie Scorpions v Central Newcastle
12.40pm Kurri Kurri v Lakes United
1pm Newcastle All Blacks v Singleton Greyhounds
1.20pm South Newcastle v Maree Kelly Allstars
1.40pm Narwan Eels v Nabukavesi Babas
2pm Toukley Hawks v Macquarie Scorpions
2.20pm Central Newcastle v Maitland Pickers
2.40pm Kurri Kurri v Newcastle All Blacks
3pm Singleton Greyhounds v Lakes United
3.20pm South Newcastle v South Newcastle
3.40pm Narwan Eels v Maree Kelly Allstars
4.20pm Semi-final 1 1st Pool A v 1st Pool B
5pm Semi-final 2 1st Pool C v Highest 2nd
6pm Final; Winner semi-final 1 v Winner semi-final 2