FORMER Woodbridge Cup club Cargo Blue Heelers and new team Orange Raiders will join the Oberon Tigers in the Mid West League in the 2020 season.
Portland Colts and Blackheath Blackcats have dropped out due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Tigers, defending premiers CSU Mungoes, Orange Barbarians, Orange United, Lithgow Bears and Kandos Waratahs will be playing.
The eight-team tournament will be one of the region's only rugby league spectacles this winter, besides the Castlereagh League, after Group 10, Group 11 and the Woodbridge Cup all decided to pull the pin on their 2020 campaigns.
The schedule will run over an eight-week home-and-away regular season before holding a four-team, three-week finals series, set to kick-off on Saturday, July 18 and wrap up before October.
So, with the Mudgee Dragons being knocked back entrance into the Castlereagh League competition, why did president Dallas Booth allow a former Woodbridge Cup side to become a part of the Midwest Cup?
Simply, the more rugby league the better.
"We want to promote rugby league and this competition in 2020, so having them play is better than having them sit on the sidelines," Booth said.
Not only does Booth expect the Heelers to be an immediate title contender in the competition, he's anticipating an influx of Woodbridge Cup players to join the men in blue.
"Being the only club in the area, I think they might attract players from other clubs that want to have a run," he said.
"I think they'll be very strong ... that's good for the competition because people turn up to watch good games of footy.
"The more good sides and good players, the better quality of games we'll have."
The Raiders will become the third team from Orange but will play as a Barbarians affiliate, incorporating a large chunk of their talent from CYMS' second-grade sides. Ben Gosper, Mitchell Britt and Ed Morrish are all expected to play.
Booth's ready to ramp up the region's excitement level about one of the last standing rugby league competitions.
"I'm very pumped ... we've spoken to all the clubs and they're 100 per cent excited," he said.
"It's one of the only competitions running around in this area and we want to bring more interest to it.
"We all can't wait to play footy."