Everything you need to know about the A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Day at Singleton's Pirtek Park

THE RIVALRY: After a memorable 2018 tournament final both Kaine McDonald (Bengalla Badgers) and Steve Berlin (Hunter Valley Untied Cobras) are looking forward to a rematch.
THE RIVALRY: After a memorable 2018 tournament final both Kaine McDonald (Bengalla Badgers) and Steve Berlin (Hunter Valley Untied Cobras) are looking forward to a rematch.

ONLY one sleep remains until the sixth edition of the A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Day kicks off at Singleton's Pirtek Park.

Yet this is more than just an annual charity event.

This year a record 400 coal mining employees will make up the 23 teams that will represent their respective mines in arguably one of the region's biggest sporting days on the calendar.

Several new outfits will debut in 2019 with sides even travelling from Lake Macquarie, Mudgee and Narrabri in the spirit of raising funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (WRHS).

WRHS community liaison officer and tournament organiser Danny Eather believes that this year's competition is shaping up to be the best so far.

"With the addition of the new teams to the event from mine sites both in the Hunter Valley and beyond, there is a lot of interest in what they will bring to the day's games," he said.

The competition will be conducted under a 10's style format.

That is, 10 players on the field per team with 10 minutes per half with a five-minute break.

The team in each pool on the highest points will advance to the semi-final match and subsequently the grand final showdown.

Points will be calculated on two points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss.

A bonus point zone will be introduced in an area directly beneath the goal posts through to the dead-ball line (therefore a try can be worth five points).

The Bengalla Badgers, a powerhouse line-up aiming for a second straight title, remain as the team to beat, according to the surveyed representatives from each side.

They are followed by the Ravensworth Rhinos who'll look to bounce back from shock defeats to the Wambo Wolves (15-5) and Saxonvale Raiders (23-9) last year to claim a third title in four years.

Meanwhile the Hunter Valley United Cobras will hope to take a step further following an 18-12 loss in the 2018 decider.

"Last year's final came down to a controversial decision in the final minutes so that has revved our players up entering the 2019 tournament," Cobras winger Steve Berlin said.

"We have lost a few players but we've also gained a few in return.

"So, I'm sure we'll give it our best and hopefully take out the title this year."

The women's competition will also look to draw a large amount of attendees around the iconic venue as the Hunter Hawkettes aim for an impressive third straight title over the Valley Vixens.

When players were queried for their motivation behind their participation they all united with a common answer.

"Having a bit of fun and raising some money for a very great cause such as the Rescue Helicopter," Saxonvale Raider Keith Gibbs said.

Since the tournament's inception in 2014 an impressive total of $292,000 has been raised for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service with $85,000 amassed from last year's tournament alone.

So what does this mean?

Last year's final tally ensured enough funds to help save almost 20 lives when considering it costs about $4500 per hour for the chopper to run.

"This tournament reinforces the importance that the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has in providing vital lifesaving assistance in the regional communities," Eather added.

"As a service, we are extremely grateful for the continued support we receive from our local mining community, who ensure that the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service can continue to fly 24-7, especially when we average over 1500 missions yearly throughout Northern NSW from our three bases in Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore."

ALL LAUGHS: After tournament victories for the Anvil Hill Bulls (2014), Austar Swamp Rats (2015), Ravensworth Rhinos (2016-17) and Bengalla Badgers (2018) there's every chance we may see a new champion crowned at 7pm this Saturday.

ALL LAUGHS: After tournament victories for the Anvil Hill Bulls (2014), Austar Swamp Rats (2015), Ravensworth Rhinos (2016-17) and Bengalla Badgers (2018) there's every chance we may see a new champion crowned at 7pm this Saturday.

ENTRY FEES:

  • $5 per Adult
  • $2 per Child
  • Gates open at 7:30am

FULL 2019 FIXTURE:

Game 1 (8:30am) -

MTW Razorbacks v Saxonvale Raiders

Game 2 (8:51am) -

Maules Creek Maulers v Bengalla Badgers

Game 3 (9:12am) -

Mt Owen Mustangs v Myuna Mudcrabs

Game 4 (9:33am) -

Mangoola Grizzlies v Narrabri Knights

Game 5 (9:54am) -

Rebell Roos v Liddell Lions

Game 6 (10:15am) -

Glendell Gladiators v Yancoal Yowies

Women's Game-1

(10:36am) -

Hunter Hawkettes v Valley Vixens

Game 7 (10:57am) -

Mount Pleasant Phoenix v Ulan Warriors

Game 8 (11:18am) -

Rixs Creeks Rattlesnakes v Saddlers Creek Sharks

Game 9 (11:39am) -

HV United Cobras v Mount Pleasant Phoenix

Game 10 (Noon) -

Wambo Wolves v MTW Barbaranians

Game 11 - (12:21pm) -

Mt Arthur Meerkats v Ravensworth Rhinos

Game 12 (1pm) -

MTW Razorbacks v Bengalla Badgers

Game 13 (1:21pm) -

Saxonvale Raiders v Mt Owen Mustangs

Game 14 (1:42pm) -

Maules Creek Maulers v Myuna Mudcrabs

Game 15 (2:03pm) -

Mangoola Grizzlies v Liddell Lions

Game 16 (2:24pm) -

Narrabri Knights v Glendell Gladiators

Game 17 (2:45pm) -

Rebell Roos v Yancoal Yowies

Women's Game-2

(3:06pm) -

Hunter Hawkettes v Valley Vixens

Game 18 (3:27pm) -

Ulan Warriors v HV United Cobras

Game 19 (3:48pm) -

Mount Pleasant Phoenix v Saddlers Creek Sharks

Game 20 (4:09pm) -

Rixs Creek Rattlesnakes v HV United Cobras

Game 21 (4:30pm) -

Wambo Wolves v Mt Arthur Meerkats

Game 22 (4:55pm) -

MTW Barbarians v Ravensworth Rhinos

Semi-Final 1 (5:20pm) -

Pool A - 1st Place v Pool B - 1st Place

Semi-Final 2 (5:40pm) -

Pool C - 1st Place v Pool D - 1st Place

Women's Final (6pm) -

Hunter Hawkettes v Valley Vixens

Final (6:20pm)

Semi-final 1 winner v semi-final 2 winner

This story Record numbers on the ball for popular tournament first appeared on Hunter Valley News.