For Waratah, the start of the season couldn't be any sweeter - their five-set victory over Hamilton marks the biggest winning margin the Cobras have ever chalked up against their long-standing arch-rivals.
Not even in Waratah's title-winning season did they account for the Stags by such a wide margin. In that campaign the Cobras recorded three-set and two-set victories over the course of the regular season. Now, the 9-4 victory over Hamilton has penned a new chapter in the history books of the club adorned in purple.
Despite the wide margin for the derby - the biggest between the two organisations since Hamilton dismantled Waratah 16-4 in just their second ever meeting twelve seasons ago - the Round 1 clash began on relatively equal footing.
Waratah opened the scoring against the Stags with a rapid-fire set win, before Hamilton bounced back two net to of their own and put the Cobras onto the back foot - or so it seemed. From a 1-2 deficit, Waratah settled into the rhythm of the match and claimed four points in a row to give themselves breathing room with a 5-2 lead at the break.
Although Hamilton has often recovered in the second half against their rivals, Season 12's first meeting went a different way entirely, as Waratah kept firm control of the clash to record another four points in the second half to the Stags' two. With no way back into the match as the Cobras charged ahead, the Season 11 runners-up were forced to open their season with a disappointing loss.
The win doesn't put Waratah on top of the table however, as both Shortland and Kotara began their own campaigns with wide margins of their own.
In the early time-slot, the Kings welcomed Glendale to the competition with a 13 set to one victory. Shortland went one step further later in the evening as they clocked up 15 unanswered points in their clash with Bar Beach.
Finally, Belmont began their title defence in Season 12 with a shaky battle against veteran organisation Raymond Terrace. The Beavers emerged victorious with a 9-8 scoreline, but it took the seventeenth set of the match to decide it. Heading into the final whistle Belmont and the Raccoons were neck-and-neck at eight apiece, a strong sign for Raymond Terrace.
Despite that, Belmont joined the winner's circle in their first match as Newcastle's champions, and will look to build on their advantage in coming weeks.
STANDINGS: Shortland, Kotara, Waratah, Belmont (3), Raymond Terrace, Hamilton, Glendale, Bar Beach (1)
Finals: Scotchies clinch first title with rampage over Belmont (21/06)
RD14: Shortland, Hamilton lead top seeds heading into playoffs (07/06)
RD13: Glendale stun Belmont 7-3 to climb out of cellar (31/05)
RD12: Jesmond bundle up Waratah to set race for top four alight (24/05)
RD11: Beavers back on track with win over the Kings (17/05)
RD10: Terrace back in the winner's circle with Hamilton upset (10/05)
RD9: Belmont and Waratah locked at standstill (03/05)
RD8: Stags down 'Tahs in grudge match battle for third (19/04)
RD7: Belmont bounce back with spoiler win against Kotara (12/04)
RD6: Scotches wave away Belmont bid to stay top (05/04)
RD5: Waratah right season with Raccoons win (29/03)
RD4: Shortland stay undefeated with fourth win (22/03)
RD3: Hamilton claim revenge in grand final rematch (15/03)
RD2: Bar Beach hold off Glendale to bag first win (08/03)
RD1: Waratah sweep aside arch-rivals with major margin (01/03)
PRESEASON: Season 12's draw & key fixtures revealed (08/02/19)
PRESEASON: Rego now open for NDL Season 12. (01/02/18)
GF: Belmont edge out Hamilton in two-set grand final epic (16/11)
FINALS: Hamilton and Belmont set up grand final rematch (9/11)
RD14: Waratah down Belmont in heated one-set thriller (2/11)
RD13: Shortland oust Hamilton from first with one to go (26/10)
RD12: Belmont upset Hamilton to blow first place race open (19/10)
RD11: Shortland take second after thriller against Belmont (12/10/18)
RD10: Waratah tumble into fourth place after slow start (5/10/18)
RD9: Top four teams hold off finals-hopefuls (28/09/18)
RD8: Hamilton claim first as league celebrates Ladies Day (21/09/18)
RD7: Shortland and Kotara clash goes down to the wire (14/09/18)
RD6: Waratah keep close on Hamilton's heels (07/09/18)
RD5: Hamilton prevail in grand final rematch (30/08/18)
RD4: Belmont tumble into ladder mix with defeat (24/08/18)
RD3: Waratah cuts Shortland's undefeated streak short (17/08/18)
RD2: Shortland break Terrace to continue strong start (10/08/18)
RD1: Waratah open account against long-standing rivals (03/08/18)
PRESEASON: Season 11's draw & key fixtures revealed (19/07/18)
PRESEASON: Registrations now open for NDL Season 11. (13/07/18)
GF: Hamilton extend dynasty with fifth championship (06/07/18)
SF: Belmont punch ticket to season decider with comeback (29/06/18)
QF: Raymond Terrace scores maiden finals victory (22/06/18)
RD15: Waratah confirm second place, first week bye (15/06/18)
RD14: Waratah steady the ship with key three-set win (08/06/18)
RD13: Belmont ensures the Waratah slide continues (01/06/18)
RD12: Cooks Hill and Belmont remain level with draw (25/05/18)
RD11: Waratah lose sight of first place after defeat (18/05/18)
RD10: Raymond Terrace shock Cookers in sudden death (11/05/18)
RD9: Cookers drop 'Tahs to second with 6-5 slug-fest (04/05/18)
RD8: Hamilton take revenge in Battle of Oakdale (27/04/18)
RD7: Bailey best on field as 'Tahs in cruise-control (20/04/18)
RD6: Waratah break three-year hoodoo over old rivals (13/04/18)
RD5: Hamilton reclaim first place with 13-0 masterclass (06/04/18)
RD4: League's closest round sees 'Tahs take top spot (23/03/18)
RD3: Cooks Hill record first point with 5-5 draw (16/03/18)
RD2: Sudden-death deciders see Hamilton pip Belmont (09/03/18)
RD1: Waratah-Hamilton classic ends in 6-all draw (02/03/18)