Cup clash unavoidable

GROUP Three Rugby League has been unable to avoid a clash between this season's semi-finals and the Taree Gold Cup meeting.

However, the group will do everything possible to avoid playing a semi-final in the Manning area on cup day, Sunday August 24.

This was decided at the group's general meeting this week.

The major and minor semi-finals will be played the weekend of August 23/24.

"We're hoping one of those matches will be at a northern venue,'' group secretary Barrie Smith said.

"If that's the case we'll play that game on the Sunday, regardless of whether it's the major or minor semi-final.''

However, semi-final venues are determined by the placings on the competition ladder and there is a possibility both games could be in this area.

Originally the group had hoped to play the final round of the competition-proper on cup weekend. However, that was working on the cup being run on August 17, as was the case in 2013. Taree-Wingham Race Club has since informed Mr Smith that the cup will be run on August 24. All race dates are decided by Racing NSW.

"If we played our last competition match that weekend our grand final wouldn't be until September 26 and that's just too late,'' Mr Smith said.

The group's pre-season will be played over two weeks, starting on March 29 with games at Wauchope and Old Bar.

The final will be at Wingham on April 6.

The season launch will be at the Wingham Services Club on Friday April 11 with the competition-proper underway from April 26, the week after Easter.

Group Three and Group Two will meet in the representative fixture at Wauchope on Saturday May 17. There will also be under 16 and 18 representative trials between the East Coast Dolphins and Newcastle on the program. There will be a full club round on the Sunday April 18.

Grand final day will be Sunday September 7 - a week earlier than originally planned.

Mr Smith said all clubs were represented at this week's meeting and it lasted less than an hour.

"It was all very amicable,'' he said.