JUST a few weeks after changing the Group 4 draw to ensure the second division grand final is played before the first grader decider, the group has now altered the start of the season as well.
Second division clubs will now start their premiership season a week later, but that doesn’t mean they will compete in a shorter season.
The group has pushed the start of the competition back to April 13 so that the clubs can compete on both days of the Wests Knockout on April 6 and 7, said group secretary Mick Schmiedel.
After the previous changes the second division competition was going to start on April 6 and only those teams who won their first round games would progress to the Sunday rounds of the knockout at Scully Park.
But after a request from a sponsor, Wests, the draw has been altered to allow all teams to be at Scully all weekend.
“Wests wanted them to be there both days and they are the sponsors,” Schmiedel said.
“We appreciate their sponsorship so we’ve changed it.”
That means the second week of the competition on April 13 now becomes the first week and what was to be the first week of games will now be played on the Sunday of the June long weekend, June 9.
There is already a round of fixtures on June 8, so there will now be two rounds of matches played on the long weekend.
Traditionally there has been none.
Nine teams are competing in the second division this season, making for one of the longest competitions the group has ever seen.
Meanwhile the first division competition will still begin on April 20 with Wee Waa hosting North Tamworth, Gunnedah at home to Moree and Narrabri travelling to Scully to face West Lions.
o English prop Sam Burgess will miss South Sydney’s round-two NRL match against Cronulla after submitting an early guilty plea to a high-tackle charge.
The England international was hit with a grade-one careless high-tackle charge for a 57th-minute shot on Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce in the Rabbitohs round-one win over their arch-rivals in Thursday’s season opener.
Burgess was one of the Rabbitohs’ best in a dominant performance up front.