THE Barraba Bulldogs will be looking to go back-to-back in 2019 after being informed they will once again play in Group 4’s reserve grade competition.
The reigning premiers proved to be a cut above their competition in 2018, defeating the South West Robins 78-6 in the reserve grade grand final.
Group 4 chairman Ray McCoy told the Leader there were a number of reasons why Barraba would not be promoted to first grade in 2019.
“I know there has been quite a bit of talk about promoting Barraba,” McCoy said.
“It’s understandable given how successful they were this season and how comfortably they won the reserve grade grand final.
“However, I will say categorically that Barraba will not be playing in first grade in 2019.
“From a Group 4 perspective, we believe it is in the best interest of Barraba to keep them in reserve grade and allow them to stay competitive.”
McCoy said “fostering the game in regional areas” was a major motivation behind the decision. “We understand it is tough to recruit players to smaller places such as Barraba,” he said.
“Coupled with also having to compete with rugby union, it can be tough to recurit players and is often a season by season prospect.
“We need to continue to foster the growth of the game across Group 4 and that’s why Barraba will stay put.”
Bulldogs secretary Kelly Phillips said the club had not discussed a move into first grade in 2019.
“To be honest we haven’t really talked about next year much at all,” Phillips said.
“We hadn’t really talked to Group 4 about a potential move so I would say they know more about it than us.
“It’s difficult to say if we would have been competitive if we moved up, I guess it remains to be seen.”
Phillips said the club was still in search of a head coach for next season.
“At this stage we have extended the coaching application deadline past Christmas,” she said.
“I’m sure after Christmas we will have more of an idea of a coach and what sort of playing numbers we’ll have.
“People do tend to wait until the season is a bit closer to make up their minds, so we’ll wait and see.”