GROUP Three Rugby League's southern pre-season finals on Saturday have been switched from the Jack Neal Oval at Chatham to the Harry Elliott Oval at Tuncurry.
This is because of the poor playing surface at the Neal Oval.
Taree City president Michael Clarke said the Neal Oval playing surface has deteriorated because of the drought.
"There's just not enough grass cover on it at the moment,'' he said.
"If we played on it now it would stuff it up for the rest of the season.''
Taree City lease the Neal Oval from Taree Leagues and Sports Club and so have to pay for water usage.
"We'll work up a big bill now because we'll be pumping plenty of water into the ground,'' Mr Clarke said.
"And more rain is expected this week, so that will help.''
Mr Clarke assured the Neal Oval will be ready for Taree City's first match in the Group Three competition-proper. The Bulls play Wauchope at Wauchope in the opening round before hosting Old Bar on Saturday April 13.
Wingham will play Old Bar in the pre-season final on Saturday while there will also be women's league tag and under 18.5 matches on the program, with the first games expected to start at noon.
Group Three chief executive Mal Drury said the initial plan was to take Saturday's games to the Wingham Sporting Complex. However, this was rejected by Wingham.
"Wingham's season launch is on Saturday night and they said they wouldn't have the time to clean up the ground after the matches,'' Mr Drury explained.
Meanwhile the Group Three season launch will be at the Wingham Services Club on Friday March 22.