MANILLA in, Wee Waa out and the Jack Woolaston Nines definitely on.
They were three of the certainties to emerge from Group 4's general meeting at the Tamworth Services Club.
The new season won’t include the Wee Waa Panthers, who have elected to sit out the 2019 season in an effort to raise money and interest in the club, with the aim of a 2020 return.
In 2018, Wee Waa played in the reserve-grade and the ladies league-tag competitions.
Group 4 chairman Ray McCoy praised the Wee Waa Rugby League Football Club for its "undying efforts to keep the rugby dream alive" in the town in recent years "under very difficult circumstances".
"With the prolonged drought having a huge effect on the local economy and local employment, Wee Waa simply haven't had the rugby league player numbers available to commit to another competitive season in 2019," he said.
"With a strong association with the Narrabri and Moree rugby league clubs," he added, "it is anticipated that some the local Panther's players, including ladies league tag, will have opportunities to continue playing in 2019."
The new reserve-grade season will include the resurgent Manilla Tigers, who have satisfied Group 4 requirements by registering 16 players - with the likelihood of having at least 22 players to call on. The Tigers sat out 2018 due to a lack of players.
While the draw for this year’s two-round competition, starting May 4, is still being formulated, entries to the Jack Woolaston Nines, at North Tamworth’s Jack Woolaston Oval, close this Saturday.
At this stage the Bears have five entries but are certain to have double that by Saturday, said Nines co-ordinator Kevin Storch.
“As of today we have five clubs who have entered the Nines,” he said.
“Nominations don’t close until the 15th (this Saturday) and we are hoping for a better representation.”
He said clubs can enter two teams if they wish and hopes they do to help the Bears honour such a stalwart in Woolaston.
Woolaston has organised at least $3000 in prizemoney for the pre-season competition, which pays homage to his many years with the club in various roles.
“It’s for everything Jack has done for rugby league,” Storch said.
Group 4 also has a Ladies League Tag pre-season competition at Barraba planned, following on from last year’s successful inaugural competition.
There is also a Group 4 pre-season competition planned before the start of the new season.