GROUP Three Rugby League's grand finals will now be played on Saturday, September 24.
This was decided at a board of management meeting held on Monday, September 5, and follows the washout of the semi-finals last weekend. The grand finals were to be played on Sunday, September 18.
"We've pushed everything back a week,'' Group Three chairman Wayne Bridge said.
That means minor semi-finals will be played at Tuncurry on Saturday with the major semis at Port Macquarie on Sunday. Winner of the first grade game on Sunday earns the right to host the September 24 grand finals.
Mr Bridge said playing a revised finals format starting this weekend, where the side finishing first would play the fourth placed team and second meeting third, with the winners progressing to the grand final on September 18, was discussed. He said this had some support.
However, there were concerns this would impact on the integrity of the finals series.
Mr Bridge said on Monday that some clubs had said players would be unavailable on the weekend of September 24/25. However, the board thought it was in the best overall interest of the competition to extend the season.
This will also mean the grand finals will be played on a Saturday for the first time. Clubs voted at last November's annual meeting to play a Saturday grand final and initially this was to be on September 10.
However, the group was forced to revamp the draw following ongoing problems with wet weather early in the year. This resulted in the grand final pushed back to Saturday, September 17. The group then opted for a Sunday, September 18 match to avoid a clash with the Hastings League grand final to be played on Saturday, September 17 at Wauchope.
Mr Bridge said the group will have contingency plans in place to move this weekend's games should there be further problems with wet weather.
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"We can go to Wingham or the Jack Neal Oval on Saturday. On Sunday we have Wauchope, Lake Cathie or even Verge Street in Kempsey,'' he said.
Mr Bridge added that the Regional Stadium at Port Macquarie was closed by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council last weekend following heavy rain on Friday evening.
"The Harry Elliott Oval (at Tuncurry) was open. But that was because it started raining after council inspected the ground on Friday. MidCoast Council doesn't inspect grounds on a Saturday,'' he said.
Reports indicated that parts of the playing surface at the Elliott Oval were underwater on Saturday morning and heavy rain continued in the Great Lakes area during the day.
The Coastal Premier League football semi-final between Great Lakes club Southern United and Sawtell, scheduled for Boronia Park at Forster on Saturday afternoon, was also postponed as were Group Three Junior League grand finals planned for the Elliott Oval on Sunday.
"We had a duty of care to consider,'' Mr Bridge said.
Mr Bridge confirmed the Group Three/Group Two representative clashes planned for Macksville on September 24 would now be rescheduled.
"We'll talk to the Mid North Coast Rugby League and Group Two and come up with a new date,'' he said.
Saturday at Harry Elliott Oval at Tuncurry
Minor semi-finals women's league tag 11am Taree City v Port Sharks, 12.10 under 18s Taree City v Port Sharks, 1.30 reserve grade Forster Tuncurry v Port City, 2.50 first grade Forster Tuncurry v Wingham.
Sunday at Port Regional Stadium
Major semi-finals 11am women's league tag Wauchope v Port City, 12.10 under 18s Port City v Macleay Valley, 1.30 reserve grade Macleay Valley v Port Sharks, 2.50 first grade Port City v Old Bar 2.50pm
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