GROUP 2’s elite players will participate again in Country Rugby League’s second tier representative program during 2011.
It means the Group will avoid again clashing with division-strength squads, with the possibility open of reaching a state-wide final.
Dates and venues are still to be announced but representative co-ordinator Greg White believes Tamworth or Armidale are likely sites.
“In the trip to Inverell during May I got the feeling that while they’d like to come to Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie on the coast, the travel distances for the inland teams is too great,” he said.
“The CRL now owns the Armidale complex and, in fact, travelling away for the first round will help us.
“It allows the team to bond even stronger and if we get through that stage to the final against the southern qualifiers, it probably means a long trip anyway.”
When the new format was introduced this year, the Group 2 squad just missed a place in the finals, after going down narrowly to the eventual competition runner-up.
The fine performance gained credit for players in the right quarters, with centre Kieran Vale head-hunted at the venue and signed later by South Sydney.
Chief administrator Jim Anderson is working on the coaching appointment, with incumbent Peter Denham the favoured choice.
However, the Bellingen teacher is believed to be under consideration for a national position and has asked for time to consider organising his schedule.
In another major change, White intends to recommend the team captain be appointed after consultation with the coach and selectors, before the playing squad is chosen.
That person would then be asked to deliver advice when the selection process takes place.
“Obviously, Michael Bright is the bloke I’ll be asking them to appoint,” White said.
“It’s a modernising process, which may find some resistance, but if we’re to improve our standing I feel we have to use all the intelligence at our disposal.
“If you’re looking for specialist left and right centres or a dummy half best able to react with your forwards, who better to ask for guidance on possible candidates than the bloke who leads the premier side?
“It’s Brighty’s business to know how the blokes in the other sides react.
“We should be forward-thinking and use that knowledge to best advantage.”
Meanwhile, the Group’s annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 27.
The CRL now owns the Armidale complex and, in fact, travelling away for the first round will help us.