The Central North competition could be in for some big changes in 2022.
The clubs are giving consideration to a proposal to reduce the number of rounds from the traditional 18 to 14.
It was one of the major points of discussions at the general meeting that followed Sunday's AGM.
As re-elected president Paul King stressed, only a proposal at this stage with "no format" having been "decided on at all" , the clubs were presented with draft draws for a regular home-and-away 18-round season and also a 14-round season to look over and discuss with their members and sponsors, and report back on.
"There's a lot to take in from a player point of view, a club point of view and a sponsor point of view," King said.
Under the draft 14-round draw presented, teams would play a "full first round" (play each other once). Rounds 10-14 would then be "seeded matches" with teams' seeding based on where they finished this season.
It would then culminate in a five-team finals series.
The zone hope to have everything formalised in the next "four-six weeks" and have convened a special meeting for the end of this month to confirm and ratify the competition format.
The women's competition could see some additional "minor changes" for 2022.
Played as 7s since it's inception, there has been a push for, and was some discussion about changing to 10s.
King will lead a relatively unchanged executive with Louise Wilson returning as senior vice-president, Daniel Kahl junior vice-president and David Rodgers treasurer, secretary.
Allison Faulkner is the only new face, replacing the retiring Wayne McMahon as competition manager.
"It's disappointing to see him go, but he's been a great servant to the game," King said of McMahon, who has been nominated for life membership.
That will be voted on at the general meeting in February.
McMahon isn't the only departure with [NSW Rugby] North West Development Manager Garry Walsh stepping down from the role.
King thanked the long-serving rugby enthusiast for his service to the zone, as a coach, referee and then DO (development officer).
"He'll leave a big hole to fill," he said.
The zone season award winners were also announced on Sunday, with an addition in future years of a women's best and fairest.
In other order of business, the zone has asked for applications for representative program staff in the hope of appointing coaching and support staff within the next six weeks.
The colts was also discussed.
There was no competition this season after not enough clubs were able to get the numbers.
"We've asked all the clubs to get on board. We want to try and transition these players out of the Friday night competition," King said.
The competition is thriving but isn't having the flow-on effect in terms of numbers filtering through to the Saturday competition.
King said there are a number of factors that "influence what players become available" like education and work opportunities, and it's not only confined to Central North.
"This is across the board in NSW Country. It's not just a problem in Central North, it needs to be addressed everywhere," he said.
"We're trying to do that."
He spoke about creating a space for them in the senior competition and making them aware that "the space is there for them".
Assessing the COVID-shortened season overall, he said it was "outstanding but disappointing".
"The level of competition was fantastic, any club could have won that finals series," King said.
"It was the closest competition I've seen in 25 years in Central North."
"Even going into round 14 or 15, we still had seven teams in the running for first grade, which is unheard of."
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