Group 10 draw reveals CYMS to play Panthers in NRL curtain-raiser, All Stars weekend making return

Jeremy Gordon charges forward for the Indigenous All Stars in 2018, he'll no doubt be in line for a spot in the side this year too. Photo: NICK McGRATH
Jeremy Gordon charges forward for the Indigenous All Stars in 2018, he'll no doubt be in line for a spot in the side this year too. Photo: NICK McGRATH

The Cowra Magpies resume pre-season training at Sid Kallas Oval tonight at 6pm.

All grades are expected to attend tonight's session in preparation for the Magpies first game of the season which will see the sides take on Orange Hawks at Orange.

Magpies president Marc McLeish said the core playing group from last year is back for this season and the club is confident they are ready to go.

"The squad we've got we're pretty comfortable with, our juniors are looking good as is League Tag," he said.

In the other season openers the Bathurst Panthers will be at home to Mudgee Dragons, the Blayney Bears host Orange CYMS and Lithgow Workies take on Bathurst St Pats.

The 2020 season will kick-off on the Easter weekend and a number of sides have requested to play on Good Friday too, making for a blockbuster opening round that will be followed by the returning All Stars game weekend the week after.

In 2018 the decision was made to play the All Stars game every second year rather than annually and while the finer details of the make-up of each side is yet to be finalised it will bring a general bye too, making for a massive build-up.

"Having a general bye on that weekend does give the chance to make a really big show of it but it also eases some pressure on clubs and that hopefully translates to more players, the best players, being available," Group 10 president Linore Zamparini said.

"We're still working out the exact details of the game but it will definitely have the usual Indigenous celebration and it should once again be a really great game, the [most recent editions] have been excellent and there's a lot of pride around the game.

"There was discussion around Group 10's best Indigenous players taking on their Group 11 counterparts this year, however that didn't come to fruition.

The two Groups' best will once again face-off in their usual representative showdown though which will 'definitely be played in May' although the exact date is still to be confirmed, at Orange.

The two dates being tossed up for the representative fixtures, which are expected to also include league tag and under-18 encounters, are May 16 and 23.

Should they be played on the former date a general bye would expected then as well.

In terms of the season proper's biggest games Panthers and Mudgee will face-off in an epic, 2019 grand final rematch to open the season at Carrington Park, as the decider was last year.

The 2020 grand final is set to be played on Sunday, September 6.