Saturday nights alright
RUGBY League’s traditional place on the Sunday schedule is changing with more Group 2 matches than ever before about to be switched to Saturday afternoon and evening.
Nambucca Heads and Macleay Valley intend to play the majority of home games on Saturday and others are likely to follow the trend once ground lighting is upgraded.
While a shortage of referees has hurried the change, clubs such as the Roosters and Mustangs say lifestyle and employment trends among their players and supporters are now more suited to Saturday football.
Other clubs, such as Orara Valley, are still bound by prevailing conditions.
“Our lights would need to be upgraded to 100 lux if we were to play Saturday night matches while during the day, a lot of players are still working, particularly our under-18s,” Axemen president Glenn Soper told this week’s pre-season general meeting.
“But if everything worked in, sure we’d give it consideration.”
Woolgoolga can only play home games on Sunday due to lighting problems and having the venue booked almost every Saturday by the juniors but are happy to change the timing for away matches if circumstances permit.
All clubs reported preparations for the season are progressing well with only Coffs Harbour forced to take remedial measures to fulfil under-18 commitments.
The club has been given permission to select under-16 players for the season opener against Sawtell on the weekend of April 10-11.
Group officials may ask the Panthers for assistance once their registrations are finalised and it’s found an excess of numbers would allow bona fide transfers to the Comets, a system that’s often proved beneficial among Hastings-based clubs.
Meanwhile, the immediate financial security of the league is assured after Fosters Group renewed sponsorship for another three-year term with the competition to remain known as VB Gold Group 2.
The extra cash should help with the pay increase granted to referees, their first for six seasons.