Central North has introduced provisions for the 2024 season, for first grade games to be moved forward and played before second grade in an effort to alleviate forfeits.
The second grade competition was marred by consistent forfeits. From round 6 there would have been only a couple of weekends where there wasn't at least one forfeit.
It wasn't just the so-called 'smaller clubs' either with Pirates and Narrabri both having occasions where they were unable to field two men's sides, while Inverell had to forfeit first and second grade their first round clash against Scone.
In an attempt to minimise the instance of forfeits moving forward, at the recent general meeting the zone added a by-law, which will allow the first and second grade fixtures to be swapped.
"We've brought in that if there is to be a forfeit in second grade, your first grade will play at the second grade time and then you'll play a second grade match afterwards with players doubling up," newly re-elected president Paul King explained.
"So that way you're still getting the two games."
And you're not impacting first grade, with players potentially being injured and then being unable to line up for first grade.
"It's an interesting way to do it but it has been trialled a couple of times in the past where it has worked quite well," he said.
"All the clubs were happy to give that a go."
In the current climate, with many clubs struggling financially as it is, he said, it is pointless fining them.
"So to do it this way does sort of make it a bit fairer," he said.
"It will also have those guys that do have to double up going back and saying hey guys, a few more of you come along and we don't have to do this.
"So hopefully it will work in that order as well."
Clubs though can't wait until Saturday morning to notify of forfeits.
Held following the special meeting convened to elect the executive, one of the other significant developments out of the general meeting was the clubs opting to stick with the 18 round home and away season plus finals.
There has been a push to shorten the season to reduce the time and travel impost on players.
Not the first time the idea has been proposed, after it was floated again at an earlier meeting, prior to the general meeting the zone circulated draws to the clubs to look over which included 14-round and 16-round formats.
"They had an opportunity to look at those and the majority came back with keeping it the same length," King said.
He said the hardest things about shortening the season is coming up with a draw that works for everyone.
"When you've got nine clubs, to come up with a viable solution so that it's a fair and even competition in terms of who gets away matches and who gets home matches is very difficult," he said.
"Someone will miss out and in these times everyone needs all the games they can get really."
One thing they are exploring though is shortening the finals.
That might take the form of playing the major and minor semi-finals on the one weekend, or one day as a 'Super Saturday' kind of concept.
The clubs now have a few weeks to discuss that.
It would only shorten the season by a week but would, King said, help "a little bit".
"It doesn't resolve all of our issues with the current set-up of the competition but it's a start," he said.