A near-two-year wait for the return of the state's premier senior touch football players to Port Macquarie is just about over.
The 2022 NSW Senior State Cup is set to hit the fields at Regional Stadium and Tuffins Lane from December 2-4 with more than 5000 people set to converge on the Hastings region.
Ex-National Rugby League stars such as Cliff Lyons, Robert Relf and Scott Prince will make the trip, while National Rugby League Women's duo Bobby Law and Emma Tonegato will also play.
Port Macquarie will field teams with the women's 20s, mixed masters, women's 40s, senior mixed and men's open B divisions all to play on Friday and Saturday with finals day set aside for Sunday.
Their mixed open team will aim to win their first-ever title while this year's event will be the final year Port Macquarie holds the three-year-long contract to host the tournament.
Come full-time in Sunday afternoon's men's and women's grand finals, the tender will be up for grabs for the 2023 event onwards.
Port Touch Association president Wayne Prince said they were looking forward to recouping some of their major financial losses over the last two years.
He was hopeful they would hold onto the event when it again goes to tender.
"I'd be very, very disappointed if we were to lose the senior State Cup," he said.
"Council have certainly stepped up and are looking to purchase the fields again. They are making the right noises in relation to the drainage which has been the major issue over the last 20-odd years.
"I'm very optimistic they're going to do the right thing (follow through with the purchase of the land) in a good amount of time. Hopefully that will be our only impediment to not only keeping the senior State Cup, but picking the juniors back up again as well."
NSW Touch Association general manager Dean Russell said there is a "real excitement amongst the touch football community" as they look to revert to a 2019-style NSW State Cup.
"We've had a terrible year in the last 12 months with the cancellation of five of our seven events through COVID lockdowns and also the inclement weather across that period," he said.
"There are now no restrictions for us so we are back to a 2019-style State Cup where people can mingle, catch up, wander the whole venue and come in and out as they please."
More than 5000 players and spectators will attend the event where teams will play in morning or afternoon sessions.
"Teams might be scheduled for the morning or the afternoon and that allows them to visit restaurants or see some of the touristy areas available to them like the wineries right across the region, not just here in Port Macquarie," Mr Russell said.
"There's a real buzz of excitement."
Matches will run between 8am and 5.30pm on December 2 and 3 with finals to start from 8am on December 4.
Friday: 10.20am vs Singleton (Field 3), 12.05pm vs Penrith (Stadium)
Saturday: 2.25pm vs Newcastle (Field 1), 3.35pm vs Wollongong (Stadium)
Friday: 8am vs Manly (Field 8), 10.20am vs Canterbury (Field 7),
Saturday: 12.40pm vs Norths (Field 16), 1.50pm vs Eastern Suburbs (Field 16), 3.35pm vs Ryde (Field 15), 4.45pm vs Parramatta (Field 12)
Friday: 11.30am vs Berkeley Vale (Field 11), 1.15pm vs Taren Point (Field 15)
Saturday: 10.20am vs Gunnedah (Field 15), 11.30am vs St George (Field 9), 1.15pm vs Peninsula (Field 7)
Friday: 3pm vs Newcastle (Field 10), 4.10pm vs Macksville (Field 3), 5.20pm vs Sharks (Stadium)
Saturday: vs Newcastle 12.05pm (Field 4)
Friday: 1.15pm vs Gunnedah (Field 20), 2.25pm vs Taree (Field 12), 3.35pm vs Beresfield (Field 10), 4.45pm vs Newcastle (Field 5)
Saturday: 8.35am vs Doyalson (Field 9), 9.45am vs Tamworth (Field 14), 10.55am vs Northern Beaches (Field 9)
Friday: 8.35am vs Doyalson (Field 11), 9.45am vs Newcastle (Field 16), 10.55am vs Hills Hornets (Field 13)
Saturday: 11.30am vs Penrith (Field 7), 1.15am vs Manly (Field 1)
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