Veteran Werris Creek co-coach Ron Dellar fears that the Magpies’ long-awaited return to first grade next season will be hindered by the club being restricted to four interchange players.
Dellar is concerned that the Country Rugby League requirement will result in the club not having a healthy player pool.
He said: “If we get 25 players and only 17 play each week, that means seven have got to sit out …What happens then? You turn players away. I thought it would be ideal to have six reserves.”
The Magpies will not field a reserve grade side next season under Group 4’s major overhaul of its competitions.
Dellar said there was a push for six first-grade interchange players to be allowed but “we couldn’t get it through”.
“That’s the Country Rugby League’s ruling. There’s nothing the Group could do about it,” he said.
Dellar has once against teamed with former NRL star Matt Parsons to co-coach Werris Creek.
Dellar said the club had about 14 players currently training and potentially could assemble a squad of up to 23 players.
“Last year [in the now-defunct Second Division] we had 10 real keen blokes and then we didn’t have the back-up,” he said. “We’re just trying to attract more players. We’ve got to get more players. We said we’d give it a go and we’re giving it a go.”
In round one on April 7, the Magpies will play reigning four-time premiers North Tamworth in Werris Creek. “I’d of bet $1.50 we would have got them first up,” Dellar said.
He said he clash would give his side an early indication of where they were at. “We’ll go all right, I’ll tell ya now. We won’t be getting an 80-0 scoreline and all that garbage like last year [in first grade]. That was terrible.
“We’ve got blokes down here who’ll compete with anyone. If we get those extra blokes, hopefully we’ll be competitive.”
Group 4 overhauled its competitions at the end of last season due to the weakness of first grade.