Group 4 is still pushing for 10-team first and reserve grade competitions in 2018 following an “absolutely brilliant” – as newly appointed chairman Ray McCoy put it – annual general meeting on Sunday.
Since Group 4’s initial proposal was released in September, Uralla and Bundarra – who were named to play in the reserve grade competition – have headed back to Group 19 while Bendemeer – also initially named to play reserve grade – have put their hands up to play in the first grade competition.
While having two 10-team competitions was the ideal scenario for Group 4, McCoy said one of the competitions could potentially have a bye included in its draw.
“We’re working on a 10-10 model and if one [competition] happens to have a bye, so be it,” McCoy said.
As for the holes left in the reserve grade competition, outgoing chairman Mick Schmiedel said clubs would be given the chance to field first and reserve grade sides.
He said there was a number of clubs that looked likely to be able to do just that following an influx of players.
“It’s quite exciting that the clubs have embraced the idea,” he said.
“Like Ray said, initially the clubs were deadset against it and apprehensive but in the last month they've really adopted it.
“Those clubs that have been elevated [to first grade] have gone out and been very proactive and had some good signings.
“If they [clubs] sign 40 players, there’s an expectation they'd field a reverse grade team, too.”
Another meeting will be held on November 26 where clubs will finalise what teams they will be entering into each competition.
From there, a draw would also be finalised.
McCoy said the draw would be designed so club sides would play football on the same day at the same venue.
It was just one thing Group 4 was aiming to do to make the football more family friendly.
The cost to go to the football will be dropped from $8 to $5 while playing times were being expanded.
The draw will be spread across Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with more twilight matches to be played.
The group was also exploring the idea of having an under 16s ladies league tag competition after the minimum age to play in the open competition went from 15 to 16.
“In this year’s competition, there would have been 20-30 girls playing that were 15 years of age, so we need to look at something to accommodate these girls,” Schmiedel said.
Group 4 will need more referees if the new competition is to go ahead.
Lack of referees has been a problem for a number of years and Group 4 is once again calling on people to put their hand up.
”We need to attract new referees, male and female,” McCoy said.
“It’s a 12-month process from when they come on board to progressing to senior games.”
“What would be nice to see – I’m probably being a bit of a hypocrite here – but, players who have retired from the game recently, maybe, take up a flag as a touch judge or referee some league tag games,” Schmiedel added.
Group 4 was also excited to have eight under 18s teams in the 2018 competition so far.