The NRL season may have been cancelled, but Narwan Rugby League has had one of the few big wins for the 2020 season with a government grant to improve amenities at Newling Oval.
President of Narwan Rugby League Lisa Waters said the $210,715 project would cement Newling Oval as the club's permanent home ground.
"Over the past three years we have managed to get our club membership up to 70 people, with the committee working hard to ensure we have the facilities to cater for that number," she said.
"We are a very small team that prides itself on being open and inclusive. This funding will allow us to expand existing amenities and build an accessible toilet block for use by the elderly and people living with a disability.
"This grant kicks off a long-term improvement strategy of our club. The next stage will be to upgrade canteen facilities, construct a grandstand and improve parking so our spectators are able to get up close and watch the game from their car in the cold winter months."
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said every footy team deserved to have a home ground where it was proud to train and play.
"Since its return to Group 19 Rugby League in 2017, the Narwan Eels have worked with Armidale Regional Council to improve the playing standard of Newling Oval," he said.
"This grant will take that effort to the next level by constructing new home and away dressing sheds alongside the field, which also have space for the referees to change and prepare for matches.
"During this season a security fence will be built around the field and along Kentucky Street, meaning patrons will have to access games through the main entrance."
Mr Marshall said one big issue for the club in the past was a loss of gate takings because people could too easily enter the grounds to watch the games for free.
He said improvements would benefit more than just the rugby league community, as archery and junior and senior cricket were also played on the oval.
"I congratulate Lisa Waters and her team on the successful grant application, which will transform Newling Oval into a facility for the entire community," he said.