The Group 11 board and its clubs are demanding all four grades be a part of a western-wide competition in 2023.
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A Group 11 meeting was held on Saturday morning in Dubbo and one of the major points to come out of it was a "unanimous" agreement that four grades are in action each week from next season.
And, in something of a bombshell, Group 11 secretary Paul Loxley went as far as to say he and Group 11 clubs would have to consider the viability of continuing in a western-wide competition should it not be enforced from next year.
Under the new Peter McDonald Premiership structure this season, only first grade and under 18s are part of western-wide competitions and that means reserve grade and league tag teams miss out on game time when Group 11 and Group 10 clubs meet in crossover rounds.
The Mudgee Dragons may currently be top of the Peter McDonald Premiership's Group 10 pool but the club is without a league tag side in 2022 while the Blayney Bears only feature a team in the Group 10 reserve grade competition.
Loxley believes only clubs fielding all four grades should be accepted in the Peter McDonald Premiership.
"We've always said you've got to have four grades to play Group 11 and we're going to enforce that," he said.
"I firmly believe every club should field four sides. They should all play in the Peter McDonald Premiership. Then you'd have reserve grade, under 18s and league tag and it would make it far simpler and far better.
"I do think our clubs are pretty strong on that as well.
"It will be interesting to see what happens. But if we make this decision now, and I think we should, Mudgee knows it has to get a league tag team."
Loxley added Blayney could be moved to the second-tier Woodbridge Cup alongside the likes of Oberon, CSU Bathurst, Canowindra and Peak Hill to ensure western-wide draws are completed in a simple fashion across all grades, unless the Bears could stump four teams from next year.
While Loxley wants a firm structure in place for clubs competing in the premier competition in the Western Rams region, Group 10 president Linore Zamparini would prefer a more flexible approach.
He and his board are content with Mudgee not fielding a tag side this year and Blayney only playing in reserve grade, as long as its keeping people playing and building towards long-term success for the game in this region.
"Every club doesn't have all four spots filled all the time," Zamparini said.
"We just want to try and keep every club on the field playing football and if that means they sometimes don't have an under 18s, or league tag or reserve grade then we try and accommodate them.
"Many years ago they would nearly would be expelled and that doesn't help anyone because then players would be lost to the game.
"If someone couldn't have an under 18s or a league tag for one year we would say they could have some leeway for that one year and bring them back the next year.
"We've just got to try and hang onto the kids because they're the future of the game. That's how we've looked at it, to keep clubs building and players coming through."
Tim Del Guzzo, the NSW Rugby League's western area manager, was contacted for comment on the matter of competition structure but wasn't available at the time of publishing.
The western under 18s competition wasn't originally part of the western-wide structure when plans were being put together last year but the decision was made late on to bring juniors from Group 11 and Group 10 together.
Zamparini said that has proven to be the right choice as this season's under 18s competition is a fiercely competitive one and it is exposing young players to top-level footy week in, week out.
The Group 10 supremo added it was "natural progression" to have reserve grade and league tag follow suit.
One of the major reasons Loxley and Group 11 wants all four grades to be involved next season is for club revenue.
While players across the board have almost unanimously sung the praises of the new competition, clubs have raised some concerns about the crowds seen during crossover rounds.
Group 11 want to continue on with four crossover rounds again next season but Loxley said clubs haven't taken a huge amount of supporters to away games when they've got to travel from the likes of Orange, Bathurst and Cowra to Dubbo, Parkes and Nyngan and vice-versa when there is only two matches to be played.
He's hopeful having all four grades on the one day would change that.
"You'll have a spectacle with four games of football and you'll have a much better competition. And it's for only four rounds," he said.
Zamparini said he has also been aware of Group 10 clubs also having concerns about crossover round crowds.
"It is out there, for sure. If you set the day up you'd really like to play four or three at least to make it a good day of entertainment. People could go a little backwards if it's cold or wet and there's only two games but if there was four games they'd probably go," he said.
"It's just a matter of getting fans back with confidence post-COVID and getting them back to games and I think we're doing that at the moment. If we keep carrying on the way it is I think we'll be right."
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