GROUP Three Rugby League chairman Wayne Bridge has confirmed he is stepping down from the position at the next annual meeting.
He took on the chairman's position (then known as president) in 2008.
"I think 15 years is long enough,'' Mr Bridge said this week.
"It's time to stand down. I know in 2020 we didn't have a competition due to COVID, but we did help run the under 18s with the junior league.''
It was in 2020 that Mr Bridge first started to have thoughts about standing aside.
"I got my weekends back,'' he told the Times last year.
During the season he has to devote at least one day a weekend to football, but often it's two. However, he wanted to see grand finals played before doing standing aside, after 2020 was cancelled and the 2021 season cut short due to a State-wide lockdown.
Mr Bridge described the 2022 season that ended last Saturday as 'frustrating but successful.'
"The wet weather, particularly at the start of the year, was frustrating. I was starting to wonder if we would get any football at all,'' he said.
The group was forced to amend the draw, extending the season at first by a week and switching to a final four to reduce the finals series to three weeks instead of four, as is played with a final five.
"Then the weekend when we were to play the minor and major semi-finals was washed out and we had to go back another week,'' he said.
He told the On the Bench segment last Friday that the decisions by the three councils to continually close fields during the season due to wet weather was another source of annoyance, particularly at grounds where the football clubs do the majority of maintenance.
However, he said the standard of football this year was strong and added the first grade competition was among the most open for many years.
Old Bar hosted last Saturday's grand final for the first time. This was also the first time a grand final had been played on a Saturday. Mr Bridge commended the Old Bar club for the manner in which the grand final day was organised.
The gate was $18,700, which he said was excellent given the wet weather leading into the weekend and the storm that hit the ground at lunchtime. There were intermittent showers in the early afternoon. Mr Bridge said had the weather been kinder, the gate would have topped $20,000. As for Saturday grand finals, Mr Bridge said it would be up to the group and clubs to decide if this becomes permanent. Mr Bridge was a long serving secretary with Wingham before he took on the group's presidency. However, he said he has no intention of returning to clubland.
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