Muswellbrook Heelers playing for their former mates and supporters on annual Memorial Day at Highbrook Park

THE Muswellbrook Heelers have held aloft the Matt Kane Shield for many years - and they're not about to let it slip from their grasp this weekend.

The 2018 Newcastle-Hunter Rugby Union divisional premiers will host its annual Memorial Day on Saturday, with Griffins returning to Highbrook Park for another round of "friendly rivalry".

"They've really bought into our concept, which is great," president Michael Hall said.

"Both sides lift for the showdown, too.

"From a club perspective, Memorial Day is Muswellbrook's biggest off-field event, just ahead of Sponsors Day and Ladies Day.

"It's an opportunity for us to honour the memory of players and supporters who've left far too early.

"Greg Buckley and I have really made a concerted effort to promote the day about remembrance.

"And, everyone's embraced that.

"We'll conduct an auction in the clubhouse, after the match, to generate money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW (MND NSW).

"Last year, we raised $13,000 for Where there's A Will.

"But, this time, we're opting for MND NSW.

"Captain Cameron Young is designing a special jersey, which not only supports the organisation that is close to his heart, but also his family's Scottish heritage.

"Our players, sponsors, supporters and visitors have been very generous in previous years - and we're hoping they will again dig deep into their pockets for a good cause."

After accounting for the Cessnock Mongrels 47-13, in a second half blitz, the Heelers enjoyed last weekend off, thanks to a bye.

Now refreshed, Hall is keen to see a repeat of that performance in front of their home crowd.

"We've had a bit of a slow start to the season," he said.

"So, I don't know if the bye is a good or bad thing yet.

"Basically, we need to win all our matches at Highbrook Park before the competition splits (into two).

"Griffins always put up a good fight.

"We respect them as an opponent.

"I like what they're doing within the club, so we're aware they are on the improve.

"To be honest, we've experienced some close battles with them in the past.

"However, I'm hoping the guys carry on what they did against Cessnock, especially after half-time.

"Their defence was terrific.

"We need to play a simple, direct game of rugby."

Kick-off is at 3pm, while a courtesy bus is available to and from Highbrook Park.