Rugby League: Walcha Roos leaving Group 4

CHANGING TIMES: The Walcha Roos will leave Group 4 to play in Group 19's new Second Division competition this year.

CHANGING TIMES: The Walcha Roos will leave Group 4 to play in Group 19's new Second Division competition this year.

The Walcha Roos will leave Group 4 with the governing body’s blessing after opting to enter Group 19’s new Second Division competition in 2018.

Group 4 president Ray McCoy said the Roos formally advised him on Tuesday afternoon that they had applied to play in Group 19.

Group 19 voted to accept Walcha that same day. 

McCoy said Group 4 would  “rubber stamp” the club’s release at its board meeting on February 18.

He said the Country Rugby League’s new constitution, adopted at the end of 2017, “doesn’t cover boundaries” but protocols remained in place and a club “still has to go through a process” to leave a Group.

He said: “We certainly don’t see any hurdles there – it’s all about fostering rugby league … At the end of the day, if that’s their wish for their club, and that’s going to provide them with quality football, then we’ll support them in that.”

Walcha had been included in Group 4’s revamped reserve-grade draw for 2018.

Their departure followed the Collegian Warriors’ decision to withdraw from Group 4 in 2018 – leaving the original 10-team reserve-grade competition with only eight teams.

However, Bundarra have applied to play in reserve grade.

The 2017 premiers of Group 4’s now-defunct Second Division were expected to return to Group 19 this year.

Group 4 will decide on their application at the February 18 board meeting.

“That’s not a foregone conclusion,” McCoy said.

“As a board we’ll look and see what’s best, not only for Group 4 but what we believe is best for Group 19 and the Bundarra Rugby League Football Club, and we’ll make our decision from there.

“But the Walcha scenario is what’s best for their club.”

Earlier in the week, McCoy announced that Wee Waa had flagged an interest in remaining in first grade this year, after the club initially opted to field only reserve grade and ladies league tag sides in 2018.

But he said the club had since done a U-turn as they “want to consolidate in reserve grade” in 2018.

The 2018 draw for all Group 4 competitions will be announced after the February 18 meeting.

Walcha president Michael Aspinall said the decision to move was based on player numbers and the fact Second Division included small towns in a similar situation to the Roos.

“We just didn't have enough [players] there and we wanted to play a bit of park footy instead of full-bore down there in Group 4 and get smashed on the scoreline,” he said.

But the Group switch is causing Aspinall consternation.

“[In] Group 4 we could sign as many players as we wanted for the boys and the girls. But in Group 19 Second Division we can only have 25 for the boys and 20 for the girls.

“Which is a bit hard really because some of the players we were talking to could only give us five or six games a year.”