NORTH Tamworth is still chasing champions for its new pre-season concept.
The Bears formulated the idea for a four-team pre-season “champion of champions” tournament some months ago and have been working on it ever since.
The March 17/18 event will see 2000 tickets given away for free and a total of $7000 in prizemoney dished out to the participating clubs.
Of course, the Bears will be one of the teams involved but finding three other strong country clubs is now the focus of one of the organisers, club stalwart Jack Woolaston.
He has sent invitations to the winners of five other group competitions, Glen Innes (Group 19), Singleton (Group 21), Dubbo Macquarie (Group 11), Wauchope (Group 3) and Macleay Valley (Group 2), as well as Mudgee.
“Dubbo Macquarie has shown some interest,” Woolaston said.
“They couldn’t say for sure at this stage because they have to find out what their group is doing.
“But I also invited Mudgee from down that way because they are always strong.”
So far the other clubs that have been invited have not answered the call.
Woolaston said he wanted to have the three visiting sides confirmed by the end of the month and would be seeking an answer from those clubs.
If there are not three clubs forthcoming, he will look to invite others from neighbouring groups.
While all country clubs organise their own trial games in the pre-season, Woolaston said this was a good opportunity for clubs to play in an event that is already organised and one that offers prize money for the participants.
“They get to play two good trial games,” he said.
“They don’t have to organise trials – these games are already organised for them.
“And there’s $7000 in prizemoney.
“The team that comes last will still get $1000.”
There will be two games played on the Saturday of the tournament with the winners progressing to the final on the Sunday.
The losers will play off for third.
First place receives $3000, $1700 goes to second, third gets $1300 and the team that loses both games will still pocket the $1000.
The novel part of the concept is the way the tickets are sold and money raised.
The club has sold 2000 tickets to local businesses.
Those businesses are sponsors of the tournament and will give the tickets away to local customers before the event.
That should ensure good crowds on both days and those present should see some of the best country clubs in northern NSW on show.
Woolaston said the ARL Commission had already promised to provide a special guest for the event, who is likely to be a former great of the game.
All the Bears need now are three other teams to play against.