The competition consists of 10 teams from around the Newcastle and Hunter area who each have a 1st-division side, a reserve team, a youth division team and an U/17 side. A season takes place over 18 rounds, with each team playing each other at home and away. The team that finishes 1st at the end of 18 rounds is declared the minor premier. The top 4 teams at the end of 18 rounds contest the finals series, a home and away knockout system played with the away goals rule (1st v 4th, 2nd v 3rd) with the winners meeting in the grand final. The winner of the grand final is crowned as the major premier.
The 10th-placed team each year is relegated to the NewFM Division, providing that the team finishing first in that competition meets the eligibility criteria for promotion.
The league originally started with 12 teams, all with a first grade, reserve grade and youth grade team. The league was then downsized to 10 teams still with all three grades. For the 2009 season it was decided by Northern New South Wales Football (the governing body) to downsize the league once again to 8 teams in order to improve the quality and give local players a chance to enter the A-league through the competition. The teams competing in the 2009 season were decided on the second of September 2008, with Highfields Azzurri FC and Lake Macquarie City Roosters FC being relegated to the NewFM Football League.
Teams were judged on criteria which included facilities/ground (30%), financial status (25%), management (20%), playing strength/coaching staff (15%) and development program (10%). An independent body, chaired by former NSW gaming minister Richard Face, was assigned to make the decision.