Oxley once again regional rivals
AFTER a one-season break, VB Gold Group 2’s senior representative squad will again play Oxley regional rivals Group 3 in a round of the Country Rugby League championships.
When the CRL split the tournament in to two tiers this season, and following representations from Group 3 to play a different opponent, the change was made for the round robin tournament held in Inverell last May.
The neighbouring group had gone almost two decades without beating Group 2, with a single draw the closest result.
Groups 4 and 19 will contest the second match as part of the northern NSW cluster and while a venue is still to be decided, Armidale remains the strong tip for June 4 next year.
Both winners advance to the semis on June 18 with the winner taking on the top southern NSW side in a final showdown one week later.
Representative co-ordinator Greg White said Peter Denham and Darren Leaney were favoured to again coach the side, but a final decision would be deliberately delayed.
“Pete is the bloke we all want, but he’s in the running for a national coaching appointment and we won’t make any firm decisions until his position is clearer,” he said.
“The new system allows a further month to choose and prepare the side so we’re not in a hurry at the moment.
“I’m also hoping we can appoint a captain in advance – probably Michael Bright – who will assist us in organising the preparation of the team.”
With Peter Barrett standing down, a new under-18 coach is required with applications closing on February 11.
Front-running candidates are Bishop Druitt College league coach Paul Chambers and ARL development officer Mike Castle.
“This doesn’t mean other candidates would not be considered and in fact, I’m keen to involve all those who show interest in some role or other so that we have a succession plan and a bank of knowledge at our disposal,” White added.
The juniors will contest the Oxley Pioneers selection trials at Wingham on April 11 in a round robin with Groups 3 and 4.
Oxley will then play Western Rams in Mittagong on April 16.