Group Three to reconsider Kempsey grand final decision

GROUP Three Rugby League's board of management will meet on Wednesday night to decide whether to overturn a decision not to play the grand final at Kempsey's Verge Street Oval should Macleay Valley qualify to host the match.

Group Three secretary Barrie Smith

Group Three secretary Barrie Smith

The original decision was made last month with the group believing that the parking is inadequate at Verge Street while there were also concerns about facilities at the ground.

Kempsey Shire Council has since sent the group two letters supporting the Mustangs.

"Council says there's 180 car parks and 18 bus car parks at the ground,'' Group Three secretary Barrie Smith said.

"They've also offered to help the group in any way possible to ensure the grand final is at Kempsey if Macleay is the host.''

Mr Smith said the original decision was made 'on the run' and he understands there are members of the board of management who support the game being played at Kempsey.

Mr Smith said he was approached on the matter by Country Rugby League (CRL) chief executive Terry Quinn at the benefit night for Curtis Landers held at Club Forster last week. The CRL is keen to discuss the ruling with Group Three.

The club winning the major semi-final on Sunday August 31 hosts the grand final on Sunday September 14.

Macleay and Wauchope play this Saturday at Wauchope in a match that should determine the minor premier and also the venue for the major semi. The Blues currently lead Macleay by two points on the ladder with two matches remaining. Macleay plays last placed Taree City in the final game while Wauchope meets Forster-Tuncurry, the side coming second last.

Should the clubs finish on the same number of points after the competition rounds the minor premiership would be determined on for and against and here Macleay holds a significant advantage.

Meanwhile Wauchope's Justin Laurie has appealed a season ban. This matter will be heard by the CRL's appeals review board.

Laurie was involved in an off-field incident following the Wauchope-Port Macquarie game at Port Macquarie on June 29. Laurie, Tim Laurie and Hastings League club Lake Cathie players Brent Antilla, Zac Brauer-Ansell and Jarred Brauer-Ansell were barred from attending any Group Three or Hastings League matches for the remainder of the season by a tribunal headed by regional manager Kevin Hill and including officials from Groups Two and Three.

Wingham's Michael Rees has pleaded not guilty to a kneeing charge after he was sent off in the first grade match against Forster-Tuncurry last Saturday. Rees is facing a two match ban and this would rule him out of the opening week of the semi-finals.

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