The Nyngan Tigers have raised some concerns about their fellow Group 11 clubs wanting a strict, four-team commitment from all those competing in western competition in 2023.
Reserve grade and league tag will be added to the schedule next year and be played alongside the Peter McDonald Premiership (PMP) first grade competition and the Tom Nelson Western Premiership for the under 18s.
Group 11 formed a motion at Sunday's annual general meeting (AGM) that only clubs which field teams in all four grades can compete in western-wide competition. That goes against a motion formed by Group 10 at its AGM earlier this month.
Representatives from a number of Group 11 clubs and members of the Group 11 executive accused their Group 10 counterparts of contradicting themselves in their motion.
Group 10 stated it is in favour of a four-grade competition but added "Blayney will be included in reserve grade competition and will participate in games against Group 11 clubs. If a Group 10 club cannot field a team in either reserve grade, under 18s or league tag then they can still participate in the crossover games/PMP with the Group 10 BOD (board of directors)/NSWRL looking to assist them to grow in the following seasons."
The Nyngan Tigers have lost a host of league tag players due to them moving away for university and while there is confidence they will field a team next year, 2022 coach Alister Quarmby said at Sunday's meeting that struggle was a reason flexibility is needed from the Group 11 clubs.
"We will have four teams but I said I don't know how it promotes footy if we're getting rid of three (teams) just to keep one," Quarmby said following the meeting.
NSWRL's western area manager Tim Del Guzzo said on Sunday there is the chance Blayney could make the move to play in the Woodbridge Cup next year but should they be part of western competition it is more realistic they may only field reserve grade and league tag.
Group 11 has long been a supporter of a four-grade commitment but Group 10 clubs Lithgow Workies and the Mudgee Dragons have also confirmed they will struggle to field a league tag side next season.
All Group 11 clubs fielded teams in four grades next season but Quarmby said he would be in favour of the Group 10 clubs being given some flexibility for the good of the game.
"I'd hope there would be," he said.
"But as long as everyone is working towards fielding the four sides and not just saying from the start they'll get three or two.
"Everyone needs to commit to try and get the four sides. We are, I just wanted to raise the concern."
Any Group 10 club looking for motivation in how to attract players should look no further than Nyngan.
The smallest town in the PMP, the Tigers coaches and board keep working during the off-season to ensure player numbers are strong for the following year.
Under 18s players are often recruited from surrounding towns and that effort was rewarded this year when the Tigers were crowned the inaugural premiers of the Tom Nelson Western Premiership.
That work continues now while recent months have already involved plenty of league tag discussions for Quarmby.
"We were for the four grades. We want the girls and reserve grade to play because they were going without too much footy," he said of 2022, when crossover rounds only featured first grade and under 18s.
"It's good and people can drift away if they aren't playing every week. It can be hard to maintain that interest if you're not in the top grade.
"From just coaching the girls, they missed a lot of games and they're keen to keep playing. I'll coach again next year.
"I just wanted to raise there is some concern and there's going to be a wedding in Ireland during the year and that's going to take a few of our players out."
A positive to come out of Sunday's meeting for Nyngan, and other clubs, was Del Guzzo confirming the NSWRL will again assist in paying for travel for clubs in 2023.
Bus trips for teams travelling in excess of 300km in a round trip will be paid for by the NSWRL.
"We're over that threshold each week so it is a big help and we really appreciate the support we get there," Quarmby said.
"We believe this competition is better for the community and better for football and it gives more opportunity for people to play footy and that's why we want it to stay."
Group 11 president Bob Walsh stated the first year of a combined competition featuring Group 11 and Group 10 clubs had its "teething problems".
"But in the end it worked out alright and worked out very well for Group 11," he said, given Forbes won the first grade premiership and Nyngan were victorious in the under 18s.
"Group 10 had boated they were the strongest group in rugby league but we showed them they're not and that was very pleasing."
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