GROUP Three has worked hard to win over players to representative rugby league.
Now group secretary Barrie Smith hopes this won’t unravel with the Country Rugby League’s decision to tinker with the tier 2 competition next year. Groups Two and Three will meet before a combined side is selected for the representative season. This is similar to the format scrapped by the CRL four years ago.
“We’ve gone back to the future,’’ Mr Smith said.
However, the combined side won’t take on CRL heavyweights Newcastle, Illawarra, Canberra or Central Coast as they will contest tier 1.
For the past three years Group Three has stood alone in the tier 2 competition.
“While we haven’t won one, we’ve been competitive every year, making the semi-finals,’’ Mr Smith pointed out.
He added players seem willing to represent Group Three
However, the previous system when Groups Two and Three played before the North Coast squad was chosen wasn’t popular with players.
However Mr Smith said this was also due to the fact Group Three struggled to match Group Two for many years after the competitions were revamped in 1995 and Wauchope and Port Macquarie moved north. Both clubs are now back in Group Three.One criticism of the representative season is the amount of travel required, with Group Three playing in Moree and Dubbo in the past two years.
“That meant players having to get Fridays off work to travel and that can be difficult,’’ Mr Smith said.
“At least this way there won’t be much travel required for the group game.’’
The group is currently calling for nominations for the representative side.
It’s understood the coaching job for the combined team will be made by the East Coast Region, made up of Groups Two and Three and the Northern Rivers Rugby League (NRRL).
Group Three will meet Group Two on May 24 next year at a venue to be determined.