GROUP 4 returns from the June long weekend bye in an intriguing position across all four grades.
Only the under 18s, where the Dungowan Cowboys lead by four points from North Tamworth and Boggabri, have a clear cut edge.
In first grade, the unbeaten Kootingal-Moonbi Roosters are the unbeaten competition leaders, two points ahead of reigning premiers North Tamworth.
The Bears are in turn two points ahead of Gunnedah with Dungowan and Narrabri equal fourth, two points further adrift.
The league tag is the closest of all with three unbeaten leaders, Barraba, North Tamworth and Dungowan.
All have six wins from six games with Barraba and North Tamworth to match up at Jack Woolaston Oval on Saturday.
Barraba also head the second grade competition. The Bulldogs and North Tamworth will play a top of the table clash at Jack Woolaston on Saturday making it a big day at the Bears Den as Norths also play Dungowan in first grade.
It’s a jam-packed Saturday with Kooty hosting Narrabri and Werris Creek at home to Boggabri in their respective first grade fixtures.
Group 4 president Ray McCoy is delighted how well the 2018 season has progressed.
“It’s great to see all the grades as competitive as they are,” he said.
“We all knew it was going to be a tough year but I cannot speak highly enough of how all the clubs have embraced the new structures and won over a few of our critics.
“We’ve had a positive increase in crowds, too. They are up approximately 30 per cent throughout the group. That includes families, female supporters and old boys.”
McCoy said Group 4 asked the clubs at the start of the season to “help us make each game or round an event and I think they have done that”.
“You only have to look at the crowds that have turned up for the Boggabri-Narrabri and Gunnedah-Boggabri games,” he said.
Ray McCoy said the “events” continue this weekend with North Tamworth celebrating their 2008 premiership-winning first grade side.
“This weekend the Bears have an Old Boys day to run with their big game against Dungowan and this weekend’s games also include a standalone under 18s game between Gunnedah and Boggabri at Kitchener Park, Gunnedah from 7pm on Friday under lights,” he said.
“Then there are some massive first grade games on Saturday with Kootingal v Narrabri, Werris Creek v Boggabri and the Bears against Dungowan.”