New era for Central North rugby with a two-tier comp

THE revamped Central North competition is starting to take shape.

The draw for this year’s competition was recently released with an April 5 starting date and September 13 grand final.

“That will be a super day,” Central North secretary Damian Henry said. “All four grand finals (first and second grade, both tiers) will be played on the one day.”

It will be different for the semi-finals and final with the tier 1 games played on Saturday and the tier 2 on Sunday. 

Henry said the consensus from the clubs was for the finals games on consecutive days.

“Basically it’s been run by the clubs,” he said. “We put the ideas up and they come to and agreement.”

While the clubs have agreed to the draw there were some reservations to the change to the structure, which will see the 10 clubs play each other once before splitting into two separate competitions based on their position on the table.

The first five will go into tier 1 and play a two-round round robin. The bottom five will do the same and comprise tier 2.

One of clubs’ main concerns was that they will lose some of their bigger home fixtures, like for Tamworth, Pirates and Moree, Narrabri.

In the case of the latter, in all likelihood they will get a home game in the second round.

And as Henry pointed out, under the new structure there is more opportunity to host finals games, and be involved in the finals.

“Effectively eight of the 10 teams will play finals,” he said.

And there are three extra games to be hosted.

The new structure will extend the competition by a round but clubs will get an extra weekend off, with clubs receiving two byes in the second round.

The only full competition break will be for Easter with games to be played on the June long weekend for the first time in a long time.

That round could potentially be a blockbuster one with the Blue Boars hosting the Bulls and Scone at home to Pirates. They were the top four last season.

In addition to the regular competition games, there will also be a charity game on the Sunday.

Pirates are organising the game which will support Beyond Blue and be in memory of Scott Campbell. 

The three clubs that he played for – Pirates, Walgett and St Alberts – will combine and play an invitational Central North side. Santos have also come on board as the major sponsors.


Round 1 (April 5): Walcha v Gunnedah, Moree v Tamworth, Pirates v Narrabri, Quirindi v Scone, Barraba v Inverell

Round 2 (April 12): Scone v Barraba, Narrabri v Quirindi, Tamworth v Pirates, Gunnedah v Moree, Inverell v Walcha

Round 3 (April 26): Moree v Walcha, Pirates v Gunnedah, Quirindi v Tamworth, Barraba v Narrabri, Scone v Inverell

Round 4 (May 3): Narrabri v Scone, Tamworth v Barraba, Gunnedah v Quirindi, Walcha v Pirates, Inverell v Moree

Round 5 (May 10): Pirates v Moree, Quirindi v Walcha, Barraba v Gunnedah, Scone v Tamworth, Narrabri v Inverell

Round 6 (May 17): Tamworth v Narrabri, Gunnedah v Scone, Walcha v Barraba, Moree v Quirindi, Inverell v Pirates

Round 7 (May 24): Quirindi v Pirates, Barraba v Moree, Scone v Walcha, Narrabri v Gunnedah, Tamworth v Inverell

Round 8 (May 31): Gunnedah v Tamworth, Walcha v Narrabri, Moree v Scone, Pirates v Barraba, Quirindi v Inverell

Round 9 (June 7): Barraba v Quirindi, Scone v Pirates, Narrabri v Moree, Tamworth v Walcha, Inverell v Gunnedah

Round 10 (June 14): 1 v 4, 2 v 3. 5 bye 

Round 11 (June 21): 3 v 1, 4 v 5. 2 bye

Round 12 (June 28): 5 v 3, 1 v 2. 4 bye

Round 13 (July 5): 2 v 5, 3 v 4. 1 bye

Round 14 (July 12): 4 v 2, 5 v 1. 3 bye

Round 15 (July 19): 4 v 1, 3 v 2. 5 bye

Round 16 (July 26): 1 v 3, 5 v 4. 2 bye

Round 17 (August 2): 3 v 5, 2 v 1. 4 bye

Round 18 (August 9): 5 v 2, 4 v 3. 1 bye

Round 19 (August 16): 2 v 4, 1 v 5. 3 bye

Minor Semi-Final: Saturday August 23 - Tier 1, Sunday August 24 - Tier 2

Major Semi-Final: Saturday August 30 - Tier 1, Sunday August 31 - Tier 2

Final: Saturday September 6 - Tier 1, Sunday September 7- Tier 2

Grand Final: September 13 - Both tiers

Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth

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