GROUP Three Rugby League could be forced to make changes to the draw for the opening round of the season, with the Old Bar Reserve expected to be unavailable due the ongoing wet weather.
Old Bar Pirates are due to play the first three games of the year at Old Bar, with matches against Port Sharks on Saturday, April 30, Taree City on Sunday, May 8 and Port City on Sunday, May 15.
Group Three chief executive Mal Drury said further complicating the issue is the fact that Port City will host Taree City on April 30. Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has ruled that games can't be played at the Port Regional Stadium on both days of a weekend.
Old Bar president Andrew Wilkes said if the rain forecast for this week eventuates then the ground would certainly be out of action for April 30 and probably longer.
"I just wanted to let the group know early that there could be an issue,'' he said.
"With luck we mightn't get as much rain as is forecast, but if we get 50mm plus then we're going to have problems.
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"A number of years ago the club received a grant to drain the southern end of the field and it's quite good. But from the 50 metre line on it deteriorates rapidly. We had a good Easter with the weather but the ground still isn't drying out as quickly as we'd like.''
He said the club hasn't been able to train at the field for a number of weeks.
Mr Wilkes added the Pirates may have to consider postponing the Port Sharks clash until the June long weekend, when no matches are scheduled, if there's no venue available on April 30. However, he said this would be the least preferable option.
"We don't want to be calling off games at this early stage of the year,'' he said.
Old Bar played a trial game at the Richard Crook Field at the Trad complex earlier this year. Mr Wilkes said this field is also closed while the fact that it isn't fenced is a further issue.
"We'd lose a substantial amount on the gate by playing there. Clubs only get a limited about of home games and it does cost a lot to run a footy club these days,'' he explained.
The Group Three season launch will be held at the Wingham Services Club on Friday night, April 22.
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