Group 9 entertains Magic Round concept

Group 9 rugby league will be looking to make some major changes to their competition in 2022, with the potential implementation of two Magic Rounds.

The competition organisers, who met on Monday night, agreed to model the Magic Round concept used in the NRL, where all clubs visit the same location for a mammoth day of first grade competition.

Group 9 chairman Andrew Hinchcliffe said the Magic Round idea was created in an attempt to increase community support.

“It’s really born out of trying to get closer to the community and to grow the supporter base and interest in footy,” Hinchcliffe said. 

“You can’t replace that carnival feel, and the Magic Round concept has been tested in the NRL and it creates excitement.”

With the gates, canteen and bar takings split between all teams, Hinchcliffe said it was a good chance for clubs to still make some money without the added stress of an extra home game.

“The other thing is, it’s the opportunity for one less home game for clubs and from a volunteer perspective, it makes a little less work for clubs,” Hinchcliffe said. 

“The clubs will split the takings, so we will need some help from each club, but we believe it will benefit everyone involved.”

Hinchcliffe explained it was a matter of organising the event, with Group 9 expected to host the first Magic round in Wagga early next season. 

“We want to do one relatively early in the season,” Hinchcliffe said. 

“Round one might be suitable but at the same time, we might need to do it a few rounds in, it just depends on the draw and what clubs want.”

There won’t be any lower grade Group 9 rugby league whenever the first Magic Round goes ahead, but organisers hope to lure big crowds with extra entertainment. 

“The idea is that all other grades except first grade have a bye but they still come and support the day,” Hinchcliffe said. 

“There might be additional things we can bring in; stuffs for kids, jumping carnivals and things like that to make it a big day of fun and create a carnival atmosphere for everyone.”

Hinchcliffe confirmed the first Magic Round would be hosted at McDonalds Park, and based on the success of the event, the second round could go to a regional venue.

“That is certainly one of the ideas we need to work through,” Hinchcliffe said.

“We need to do it twice, otherwise the draw isn’t balanced but we need club support in Wagga first.

“I’m mindful of making a long-term commitment to get to every club, as it would make nine years, so based on the success of the first one in Wagga, we may put it out for tender to clubs, and see who wants to host the second Magic Round.”

Blues President Bryan Black was behind the concept, but he believed all clubs should get a chance to host a similar event. 

“The way they are talking, they are confident they want it to happen next year,” Black said. 

“It sounds alright in theory, and we are all for it, but if it goes to Wagga first, then it should be spread around to everyone after that.”