Davis back at the helm


RUGBY league icon Paul Davis can add another honour to his long, long list after being appointed coach of the senior VB Group 2 representative team to take part in the historic Centenary Cup competition.

Davis, who this year moves from Macksville to take up the reins as coaching director of new club Dunghutti, was so keen to return to the job he last held in 2006, the bid went in as soon as applications opened.

"Paul was a huge success when he was last in the chair and only stood aside when settling into his new job with the Health Department," president Greg Mayhew said.

"If anybody can slide straight in to continue the wonderful work done by Craig Wallace, it's him."

Wallace only decided not to apply for an extension of his role at the very last moment.

"In the final four days before the application had to be in I was out of town on business and it gave me time to think about what I should do," he said.

"In the end I felt the needs (at Sawtell) were more important and decided to concentrate my efforts there.

"Davo is a fantastic fella and will do a great job and I'm happy to chip in with any support that he needs."

For the first time since the boundaries were re-aligned in 1966, Group 2 will not be confronting southern neighbours Group 3 when the state-wide knockout begins in Armidale on May 3.

The opponent will be Armidale-based Group 19 with the victor facing the winner of the Group 3/Group 4 clash one week later.

The new format makes it extremely difficult for Groups to win the Cup as survivors must tangle with a Division-strength outfit once the semi finals are reached.

n OVERDUE changes are certain to be made to the format of this year's Group 2 playoffs.

An alarming fall in gate-takings during the semi series' of 2006-7 has forced drastic action with the scrapping of a home game allocation to the side finishing fifth, clearing the way for all sides playing before the biggest group of home town supporters possible.

The idea was suggested by new Management Committee member and former New South Wales Country coach Scott Mieni and means the team who finished higher on the table by the end of the minor premiership will usually get a home ground advantage.

"Under the old system we saw Woolgoolga play Sawtell at Port Macquarie in 2005 and two men and a dog turn up to watch," Mieni said.

"This scheme was proven when I was in Cobar and while it can have one bug if results go a certain way, it always means the two clubs battling it out will have the advantage of a decent gate from playing before home supporters."

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