New chief for Oxley league region

OXLEY Pioneers have a new chairman after the annual conference in Walcha on Sunday.

Former leader Greg Mayhew of Group 2 did not seek re-election and prominent Country Rugby League and Group 4 identity Frank Fish won the election for the top post from Group 3 delegate, Kevin Hardy.

“I'm very pleased to be elected to the position and it's my vow the Oxley Region's voice will be heard at CRL level,” Fish said confidently.

A former CRL vice-president and sometime enfant terrible in league circles, Fish has a wealth of experience as a former Country captain, coach and administrator.

Sources believe the influence Fish enjoys in the game will be greatly increased should challenger Jock Colley unseat incumbent chairman Warren Kimberley in the ballot for executive positions currently under way.

Sunday's meeting decided to make Bellingen the focus of the representative trials in 2009 with a gala day set down for April 4.

The three-cornered trial system for Under-18s will be extended to the senior grades and Group 2 registrar Peter O'Grady feels it may be the shot in the arm rep football has been crying out for.

“We're looking at the success of holding that interstate game at Bellingen two years ago that had the huge crowd in to watch the best young players go around,” he said.

“I think if we promote this right, it could be even bigger now that everybody is aware of the talent likely to appear.”

Regional manager Scott Bone said a full day of six matches would provide better preparation for the Country series.

“Coaches will get an opportunity to train as a region before the Championships which wasn't possible this year,” he said. “Applications for coaches, managers, first aid officers and selectors are now open through the three bodies (Groups 2, 3 and 4) with successful applicants announced in February.”

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