Headlined by former NSW Blues and Australia Kangaroos player Blake Ferguson, the Newcastle Rebels look to retain their Men's Country Championship title.

Competing in the NSWRL Major Competition from early March, the Rebels will put out an unchanged team from last year, including NRL duo Will Smith and Peter Mata'utia.

Smith spent time with the Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels, Gold Coast Titans and Wests Tigers, while Mata'utia has previously featured for the Newcastle Knights and St George Illawarra Dragons.

“I wanted to reward all the players that were part of last year's successful campaign,” Rebels head coach Garth Brennan told Newcastle Rugby League.

“They have all been selected again this year and with the new players we've added, I think we have a very competitive squad.”

In 2023, the Rebels defeated the Riverina Bulls to claim the title in a 49-16 Grand Final win at Woy Woy Stadium.

The Newcastle Rebels will begin their Men's Country Championship campaign on Saturday, 2nd March, at Cessnock Sportsground against the Central Coast.