ALL three Group 4 Cup First Division games will be played in Tamworth this weekend.
West Lions and Gunnedah Bulldogs kick off the weekend tomorrow afternoon at Scully Park with a crucial game between the second and third- placed teams.
On Sunday, unbeaten North Tamworth Bears host injury-riddled Narrabri at Jack Woolaston Oval while winless Oxley Diggers tackle Wee Waa Panthers in what shapes as a battle for the wooden spoon.
Group 4 president Barry Pratten said the anomaly in the draw, which has all three games in Tamworth, was a one -off.
“It’s a quirk of the draw,” he said.
“The boys didn’t pick it up when we did the draw.
“I imagine there will be a weekend later in the season when there are no games in Tamworth.”
The West Lions-Gunnedah game is vital for both teams as they chase a major semi-final spot.
Gunnedah sits two points above West Lions in second spot, and two points behind unbeaten North Tamworth.
The Bears are at home on Sunday against a Narrabri side struggling with injuries but sitting fourth, a couple of wins clear of a Wee Waa side returning to full strength and full fitness.
Wee Waa’s clash with improving Oxley Diggers at Scully Park on Sunday afternoon could decide the wooden spoon.
“Diggers and Wee Waa are very similar,” Pratten said.
“Both are good for 20 minutes a half at the moment. They just don’t have the fitness yet.”
Pratten is delighted by the continued improvement of a Diggers side which was being flogged by 100 points at the start of its debut season but has since started to compete for longer portions of games.
He said plenty of critics had panned the Diggers earlier in the season and he is glad they have aimed up in recent weeks to suggest they will be a long- term club.
The fact the Digger women are leading the Ladies League Tag table is also a positive for the club.
Adding Ladies League Tag to Group 4 First Division this season has been a large success, following on from the debut season of the Wayne Cadman & Associates Ladies League Tag in Second Division.
The Walcha Jilleroos are unbeaten in that competition, helping make it a successful one for the Walcha Roos, who sit fourth (12pts) in the Second Division Shield competition behind unbeaten Kootingal Roosters (20pts).
The Roosters and reigning premiers, Barraba Bulldogs, have byes this weekend.