THE “super comp” proposal is off the table for next season but the Central North competition could still be in for a facelift.
Central North and New England were looking at combining the two competitions.
That isn’t happening now next season.
It’s not dead in the water though, with the two zones deciding to take a bit more time to work through the process.
They want to make sure they get it right.
“We had a meeting with the New England guys a couple of weeks ago and decided to put it on ice for 12 months and continue negotiations,” Central North president Peter Burke said.
The feeling was that there wasn’t enough time to “go through all the issues and have everything ticked off” before their respective AGM’s, which is where the draw is ratified.
There are, understandably, several issues that need to be nutted out.
The other thing Burke said was they felt they needed more consultation with the clubs.
“We want to feel everyone’s had the chance to have their say,” he said.
Accordingly, they’ve sent out questionnaires to the clubs.
They cover a range of questions such as how they think a cross-over competition would affect their club and how would they travel to why are their players involved.
That will vary club to club.
“We’ll contunue discussions over the next 12 months,” Burke said.
“Hopefully, going through this process will make it more robust.”
In the meantime, Central North is reviewing its structure for next season.
“We’re looking at potentially restructuring the draw,” Burke said.
The idea being floated is a tiered competition for the second half of the season.
Under that proposal, teams would play each other once, then, depending on where they sit, split into two different competitions with the top five playing in one and the bottom five in the other.
“Since I’ve put that out to the clubs I’ve had another couple of suggestions come in,” Burke said.
There are a lot of implications to consider but the overriding sentiment is that something needs to change.
“The clubs are very vocal in their desire to have some sort of equality,” Burke said.
“It’s becoming quite clear that the smaller clubs are finding it harder to maintain players under the current structure.”
That was evident, with clubs forfeiting games, and several of the smaller clubs having players double up for first and second grade.
The fear is that if they keep the current structure, it could possibly fail, Burke said.
Another worry is the juniors.
That is also being looked at.
“The other positive thing is we’ve formed a group – headed by (ARU North West participation manager) Garry Walsh – to look at junior football and look at how we structure that,” Burke said.