Big game after big game after big game.
The 2017 Blowes Clothing Cup will be punctuated by massive clashes almost weekly after the Central West Rugby Union released the top flight’s draw on Wednesday.
Bathurst Bulldogs host CSU Bathurst in a round one derby – potentially on a Friday night – before a grand final rematch between Forbes and Orange Emus at Endeavour Oval in round two.
From there, City returns to Anne Ashwood Park to right the wrongs of last year’s elimination semi-final debacle in round three, before Parkes takes on Forbes (round four), City hosts Emus (round five) and Roos take on Dubbo rivals Rhinos (round six) to launch the year.
Emus take on Rhinos in round one, while City hosts Cowra at Pride Park in the opening week, which is Saturday, April 1.
CWRU chief executive officer Peter Veenstra said the 10-team - Narromine isn’t in the 2017 men’s top flight – 18-round draw was infinitely easier to work than last year’s 11-team version, and the winners will be rugby fans from the outset.
“Bathurst (Bulldogs) requested to play CSU in round one … we did that a few years ago and both clubs agreed it was a success, so we went back to that for them,” Veenstra said.
“And Orange (City and Emus) wanted their derby on May 13 ... so we accounted for that as well.
“From there, everything fell into place.”
The finals begin on August 26 while there’s a general bye on April 29 for the country championships. The June long weekend bye is on June 10.
Veenstra added the growth of the women’s game would add to the 2017 season.
“One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seven clubs have a women’s side headed into next season. We’re growing the women’s game, which is encouraging to see,” the chief said.
Orange wanted their derby on May 13 ... so we accounted for that as well.Peter Veenstra