Group Three Rugby League's board split on Kempsey as a grand final venue

GROUP Three Rugby League will seek a meeting with the Macleay Valley club, Kempsey police and Kempsey Shire Council after the last competition game on Sunday, August 17 at Kempsey before a decision is made whether to play the grand final at Kempsey should Macleay qualify to host the game.

Group Three president Wayne Bridge will be one of the officials who will meet with Macleay Mustangs officials along with Kempsey Shire and Kempsey police representatives later this month to discuss playing the grand final at Kempsey's Verge Street Oval

Group Three president Wayne Bridge will be one of the officials who will meet with Macleay Mustangs officials along with Kempsey Shire and Kempsey police representatives later this month to discuss playing the grand final at Kempsey's Verge Street Oval

This was the outcome of a group management meeting this week where the group's original decision not to play a grand final at Kempsey's Verge Street Oval was debated.

Group secretary Barrie Smith admits the board is now split on the matter.

Group Three will be represented by at the meeting by president Wayne Bridge, Barrie Smith and treasurer Harry Rider.

Mr Smith said the group has received a sketch of the ground from Kempsey Shire Council indicating there's space in surrounding areas at the ground for 180 car parks and 18 to 20 bus car parks. Council has also offered the assistance of parking attendants. A lack of parking was one of the group's concerns when ruling the ground out for the grand final.

"We want to know how this will be controlled and if there will be security for that area,'' Mr Smith said.

"We will also want police in attendance for the grand final as has been in the case for the last three grand finals played at Wauchope and Port Macquarie.''

The group will also insist that fencing on the eastern side of the ground be covered to ensure spectators can't stay outside the ground and still watch the action.

Macleay has indicated alcohol will be sold at the ground during the finals series. There was no alcohol sold at home games this year.

"We want to know where the alcohol will be sold and we will insist there be alcohol free zones,'' Mr Smith said.

However, he said there will be no restriction on selling full strength beer or spirits 'at this stage'.

Mr Smith said the ground surface at Verge Street has deteriorated and this must be addressed.

"They have water restrictions in place in that area, but perhaps council may be able to help the club out,'' he said.

Field markings are also inadequate.

The group will look to use junior league dressing sheds on the eastern side of the ground for the minor grade matches. The club will also have to provide a roving microphone and a portable stage for presentations.

Mr Smith stressed the group is not 'picking on' Macleay, saying all clubs hosting matches during the finals series have to comply with strict criteria.

"Old Bar hosted two games in the finals last year for the first time and they had to meet a number of requirements,'' he said.

However, Mr Smith added that the group's grand final gates have grown significantly in the past five years and the management wants to ensure this trend continues.

"We've gone from $12,000 to $19,000,'' he said.

"The club's benefit from this with extra prizemoney. We need to know we can get the 2500 to 3000 people into a venue.''

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