WITH four consecutive premierships the Bathurst Bulldogs women are undoubtedly a powerhouse of Central West Rugby Union, but club president Greg Reid knows there is something which could take them to another level.
It's changing from a 10-a-side format to 15-a-side like is used in the men's competitions. Reid believes it would not only benefit Bulldogs, but all teams taking part in the Central West's three women's premierships.
"I think it would be a big coup for Central West if we could organise that, I'm not sure it will go ahead but I think that's what we need to talk about," Reid said.
"Women's rugby is just thriving so that's something we need to continue to nurture and grow until we get to 15-a-side in the women's comp.
"It would be a game-changer, it would bring all different body types into it and more structure, it would just take it to the next level."
This season saw teams need a minimum of 10-a-side, but there was a provision for that number to increase in games if both clubs agreed.
I think 15-a-side would bring a whole new level to the game.Greg Reid
But Reid feels that rather than teams having the option to go up, the standard should be set at 15-a-side to allow players to train for that format. He thinks if that was to happen, it could lead to a reduction in one-sided scorelines.
"If you train for 10-a-side it's hard to go up and match numbers on the day, you just don't train for that," he said.
"I think some of the scores would then tone down because it's a big field with 10 when you are playing 40 minutes.
"The quick girls are getting a huge advantage - credit to them - speed wins most games, but I think 15-a-side would bring a whole new level to the game."
As for talk of a condensed format for the 2021 season - something which the COVID-19 pandemic forced on Central West officials this year - Reid thinks nine regular rounds and two weeks of finals is not the best option for players or sponsors.
"I think we'd prefer it a bit longer, I think it was a bit short so maybe we aim for something in the middle," he said.
"I think people might not play if it's really short ... we want to get people watching the game as well. There's a lot to it, if you shorten the season your sponsors aren't gettign as much coverage either.
"I think we should try and survey the players - whatever it takes to get more people playing rugby obviously we need to consider."
Getting people playing rugby was a box Bulldogs ticked this year - they went from single figure attendances at training when COVID restrictions permitted a resumption to winning three premierships.
"I'm still pinching myself, I was just blown away with winning three premierships against the odds," Reid said, with the women plus the third and second grade Bulldogs upsetting Dubbo Kangaroos in their respective deciders.
"The club was triangle of success this year, you know it was our stoic Bulldogs hard-core people that were there, we also had an influx of rugby league players who came to us this season and then we also had the Stannies boys.
"Their school season was cancelled so we had a lot of 17-year-olds playing for us who got us over the line in third grade and had a couple in second grade too.
"The league guys, they were people who wanted a game of footy. The league guys did really well, we bonded with them and if they chose to go back to rugby league we'll definitely go and watch them.
"They've got our support now as well, we owe them a favour and definitely enjoyed their company."