Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 trio Hamish Wolfgang, Tyler LePrince-Campbell and Tyler Wolfgang join Cessnock Goannas for upcoming Newcastle-Hunter divisional competition

Aberdeen Tigers centre Hamish Wolfgang
Aberdeen Tigers centre Hamish Wolfgang

BENGALLA Hunter Valley Group 21 trio Hamish Wolfgang, Tyler LePrince-Campbell and Tyler Wolfgang are slated to join a youth-dominated Cessnock Goannas outfit in the upcoming Newcastle-Hunter divisional competition.

The trio, along with former NRL and Super League playmaker Tyler Randall, will add experience to the team when the amateur event kicks off on Saturday, July 18.

Randall, who was one of several pre-COVID-19 star signings, will play in the reduced 10-round competition for free alongside several youthful first graders including Reed Hugo, Nick Lawrence, Robert Tuliatu and Seaton Reid.

And, with Group 21 postponing its format this season, representative players Hamish Wolfgang and LePrince-Campbell, both from the Aberdeen Tigers, have been granted permission to line up with the Goannas, along with Tyler Wolfgang and Newcastle Knights youngster, former Singleton forward Tom Baker.

Cessnock is on the hunt for players as they look to fast track the development of youth in the revised competition.

Both the Goannas and Kurri Kurri Bulldogs are struggling two weeks out to get enough numbers to field two men's sides.

However, there are provisions for them to just field one team and it will be graded on the basis of a points system taking into account first and lower grade experience across the squad.

A final draw is expected to be announced by Newcastle RL this week as clubs finalise their outfits for the two-tier men's comp, blues tag and under-19s.

Goannas coach Todd Edwards said with many of the senior players opting not to play this season, it was an ideal opportunity to concentrate on development of younger ones.

Three of the most promising prospects are Harrison Spruce, Joe Barber and Harvey Neville who were all prominent in Cessnock's Challenge Cup win against North Tamworth Bears way back in a pre-COVID impacted February outing.

"We've got a few regular first graders in the team, but it's a chance for the other boys on the edge to further push their case and for us to help their development," Edwards said.

"We still need some numbers, but we're hopeful they will pick up soon."

The Goannas will enter Tier 1 and 2 teams and a blues tag side, but will not be putting an under-19s on the field.

The Tier 1 competition will be made up of first and reserve grade players, Tier 2 will be for reserve and open grade.

There will be no player payments.