Orara Valley and Nambucca Heads.
Orara Valley and Nambucca Heads. Leigh Jensen

Game start times will be varied

THE 2011 VB Gold Group 2 rugby league season match days will commence at 1pm when only two grades are played.

Games will be played back-to-back with no delay in between, irrespective of the grades involved.

While Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo remains the only club to officially announce they will not have an under-18 team, Port Macquarie has delayed a final decision until its training session on Tuesday, but football manager Les Murphy admits this is a last-ditch stand.

Nambucca Heads reports it has the bare 13 players but are confident of locating more starters, while Orara Valley is also hopeful despite reports circulating that two players from last year’s premiership-winning side they were counting on retaining are shifting over to the Coffs Comets.

Chief administrator Jim Anderson believes old rules about team numbers and playing times need to be more flexible to meet changing circumstances.

“Common sense has to apply and while it’s probably not going to happen, if Bellingen came in at the last minute and told us they had enough kids to make a team we’d let them have a start,” he said.

“We’ve put one o’clock Sunday as start time if only two sides can be mustered but like always, that can be varied over the weekend.

“A lot of factors including looking after sponsors have to be taken care of and the best thing is to have everybody working in together.”

Anderson revealed that at a final gathering of club delegates on Wednesday night, all decreed they would have reserve grade teams despite many clubs privately expressing concerns at their potential lack of depth.

“They all said they’d be okay, so I wouldn’t like it if one club decided to pull out at the last minute,” he warned.

Meanwhile, Dorrigo’s Rowe Oval will host the first senior rugby league game played in the town since 1974 when the Magpies host Coffs Harbour tomorrow.

After going into recess, the club’s identity was revived by Bellingen in the late-1990s with the traditional greens colours added to the black and white playing strip. Play will start with under-16s at 2pm.

Also tomorrow, Macleay Valley and Port Macquarie will meet at Verge Street Stadium with the first of three grades at 3pm.

At the same time, Sawtell will host unofficial trials against South Newcastle Lions in three grades at Rex Hardaker Oval.

On Sunday from noon, Woolgoolga will be at home to Orara Valley while Nambucca Heads and Macksville meet at Coro- nation Park.

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