GRAND FINAL – Newcastle City vs. Terrigal Avoca
(2:50pm at No.1 Sportsground)

This is the game we have all been waiting for.

For Newcastle City fans, this is the ultimate chance to end a five-year premiership drought. Many would say this line-up appears fitter than the victorious sides of 2016 and 2018 on account of their ability to win games off of early deficits. When playing off against Terrigal Avoca in the semi-final, the Blues trailed 4.2 (26) to 0 before Joseph O’Donoghue scored the side’s first goal at the 23-minute mark of the match. Ball winner Anthony Baker continued to be the ultimate professional in the middle as the Blues fired back with five goals in a row. With a classy midfield and an Elliot-Davey medal winning forward in Mitchell Crawford, Newcastle City’s only area of concern is down back as five of the Panthers’ six goals that day were the result of contested marks from key targets Harrison Pitt, Brandon Thomas and Luke Bury (only two of City’s nine were from marks).

Terrigal Avoca prepares for an 11th straight season decider as the favourite according to the remaining coaches in the Men’s Cup competition. Not even injury clouds over goal-kicker Harrison Pitt and Jack Grimmond-Lee can prevent the Panther army from preparations of claiming a seventh premiership in 11 years.

Another chapter is added to the grand final rivalry between these clubs, may the best side win.

On a side night, congratulations to Zahli Mertins who will become the first woman to umpire a Men’s Black Diamond Cup grand final.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Second Semi Final, 2023. Terrigal Avoca 6.9 (45) defeated by Newcastle City 9.9 (63) at Adelaide Street Oval.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jake Hansen (Terrigal Avoca). With only two kicks and a mark to his name in the 2022 grand final, the half forward helped guide his side to a memorable preliminary final win on Saturday.

FIRST GOAL: Joshua Taylor (Newcastle City). The youngster is hungry for his first senior premiership. Expect a big goal celebration early.

HARD LUCK STORY: Mackenzie Leecroft (Terrigal Avoca). Considered the Panthers’ best player in the final quarter of last year’s grand final, he will have to watch on in 2023 due to a back injury.


Field Umpires: Kyan Everson, Cypress Hart (debut) and Zali Mertens (debut)

Boundary Umpires: Lachlan Chellis, Jonah Finlay, Stuart Chellis and William Chellis (debut)

Goal Umpires: Anthony Everson and Andy Baldwin (debut)

BROADCASTERS: Cori Hopper, Alex Tigani and Ashley Borg.

FINAL PREDICTION: Terrigal Avoca by 18.


GRAND FINAL – Newcastle City vs. Killarney Vale
(12:30pm at No.1 Sportsground)

Let’s hope this grand final proves to be more of a spectacle than last year’s low scoring season decider.

In 2022, Newcastle City prevailed to claim a fifth straight title when holding off Killarney Vale 3.6 (24) to 3.3 (21) last September. If memory serves correct, the Blues built off of a lowly 0.2 (2) to 0.1 (1) half time lead. Far from riveting!

Killarney Vale continued to improve this year by going undefeated in the home and away season. The club’s youth girls also celebrated an under-17 premiership while ruck and Tamworth Swans recruit Eliza Hand added to her 2022 AFL North West medal by claiming our league’s highest individual honour on Monday night. On paper, this is a new look Bombers’ outfit compared to last year’s grand final side.

Yet just as Terrigal Avoca prove to be the Men’s Cup grand final specialists, Newcastle City have qualified for a eighth straight season decider. After three head to head defeats, the powerhouse kept the Bombers to a single Brooke Turner goal in their 19-point semi final win. With premiership names like McDonald, Joyce, Eacott and Holcombe ready to go, it is hard to look past the home side in this season decider.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Qualifying Final, 2023. Killarney Vale 1.1 (7) defeated by Newcastle City 4.2 (26) at Adelaide Street Oval.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Holly Gibbons (Killarney Vale). Could the ball winner be the missing piece of the Bombers’ premiership puzzle?

FIRST GOAL: Mia Wilson (Killarney Vale). If the Bombers’ midfielders can launch the ball high into the forward line then expect the league’s best tall forward to shine early.

HARD LUCK STORY: Killarney Vale bring back Hannah Page meaning youngster Holly Bryson and injured Courtney Barnett will miss out. For Newcastle City, the entire women’s plate side were unlucky not to advance further into the finals series.


Field Umpires: Jessica Barnes, Lincoln McCauley and Eliana Watters-Cowan

Boundary Umpires: Charisse Waters-Cowan and Bonnie Swan

Goal Umpires: Zane Everson and Shane Lowndes

BROADCASTERS: Alex Tigani and Ashley Borg.

FINAL PREDICTION: Newcastle City by 26.


GRAND FINAL – Terrigal Avoca vs. Newcastle City
(10:10am at No.1 Sportsground)

After sharing the Granland medal spotlight as joint winner with Magpie Brayden Tos, Newcastle City’s playing coach Joseph Miller is now only four quarters away from starring in a premiership before his adoring home fans. The midfielder will be aided by Aaron Townsend, a NTFL premiership player with Nightcliff who also finished fourth in this year’s medal count despite only playing ten games.

Townsend’s absence in the qualifying final against Terigal Avoca proved evident as the Panthers hung on to celebrate an upset five-point win.

Mason Pippen proved to be one of the silkiest contributors with the footy in his side’s convincing preliminary final win while Newcastle City legends Cameron Keast and Luke Rawnsley will continue to contribute on each end.

Unless we see another four-goal haul from Jayden Morgan, pencil in a Newcastle City victory to redeem recent grand final defeats from 2020 and 2022.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Second Semi Final, 2023. Newcastle City 6.7 (43) defeated by Terrigal Avoca 6.12 (48) at No.1 Sportsground.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Will McKellar (Terrigal Avoca). Has performed well against Newcastle City in season 2023.

FIRST GOAL: Reuben Miller (Newcastle City). Proved to be a solid contributor throughout the side’s preliminary final win against Wyong Lakes.

HARD LUCK STORY: Ben Dinardo (Newcastle City). A solid contributor all year who is now expected to dominate the Shield grand final.


Field Umpires: Darrel Luck, Isaac Cruckshank and Rachel Robinson

Boundary Umpires: Jack George and Koby Ede

Goal Umpires: Jody Jackson and Michael Barnes

BROADCASTERS: Alex Tigani and Cori Hopper.

FINAL PREDICTION: Newcastle City by 28.


GRAND FINAL – Maitland vs. Cardiff
(8:10am at No.1 Sportsground)

We start the day with a blockbuster!

The opposing coaches have picked the Saints to repeat their 23-point semi-final win over the Hawks and go all the way again this Saturday. Former Singleton Roosterette Nikki Robson has been the star of the Saints’ finals series with five of her side’s seven goals while fellow representative talent Skyla Dunn also stepped up to the plate with an impressive goal in the semi-final.

For the second straight year, Cardiff’s Women’s Cup preliminary final exit has allowed for the club to enter the Plate grand final with confidence as they welcome back Olivia Sneddon and Holly Keeble.

This game may result with the closest margin across the five grand finals to be held this Saturday.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Second Semi Final, 2023. Cardiff 1.1 (7) defeated by Maitland 4.6 (30) at No.1 Sportsground.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Georgia Jenkins (Maitland). Finished runner up in this year’s league best and fairest.

FIRST GOAL: Cheyenne Neu (Cardiff). Has kicked some impressive goals at both Plate and Cup level this year.

HARD LUCK STORY: Arguably the hard luck story of grand final week, first year umpire Angus Naval has pulled out of officiating his first grand final after he sprained his foot playing footy this week.


Field Umpires: Zac Ruhl, Fynn Bagett-Juleff and Holly Bryson

Boundary Umpires: Angus Nagle and Oliver Croft

Goal Umpires: Peter Hoffman and Stephen Rundle

BROADCASTERS: Alex Tigani and Cori Hopper.

FINAL PREDICTION: Maitland by 6.


GRAND FINAL – Newcastle City vs. The Entrance Bateau Bay
(5:10pm at No.1 Sportsground)

We do not wish to jinx our host club nevertheless there is every chance that Newcastle City may be eyeing a fourth straight premiership for the day when these two sides go to battle.

This first vs. fourth clash will be a lot closer than most would have imagined given these sides have not met since Round 10. 77 days later and Newcastle City will enter with fresh legs following a two-week break. Recent Newcastle City Plate star Bayley Carruso impressed BarTV viewers in the qualifying final with his speed to burn while in the visitors rooms keep your eye on defender William Gersch who finished sixth in the Arnold medal count.

LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 10, 2023. Newcastle City 13.15 (93) defeated The Entrance Bateau Bay 6.4 (40) at No.1 Sportsground.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Mitchell Ede (The Entrance Bateau Bay) provides some of the best centre clearances in the league.

FIRST GOAL: Mathew Johnstone (The Entrance Bateau Bay) has slotted 18 goals this year.

HARD LUCK STORY: The Entrance Bateau Bay’s Brayden Andrews and Luke Driver were unlucky not to be named. They will watch on with teammate Jack Johnson following his MCL injury on Saturday. Eddie Court (Newcastle City) was also unlucky after leading his side to a Plate grand final in 2022.


Field Umpires: Scott Donnet, Joseph Mott and Troy Edwards

Boundary Umpires: Benjamin Swan and Brenton Swan

Goal Umpires: Cameron Moore and Thomas Hooke

BROADCASTERS: Cori Hopper, Ashley Borg and Reece Barton.

FINAL PREDICTION: The Entrance Bateau Bay by 10.