If the Tumut Blues have any plans on defending their Group 9 premiership this year, they will likely have to make the top four, instead of a top five, in what will be a shortened Group 9 competition.
Group 9 Chairman Peter McDermott explained that constraints on the length of the season, and requests from clubs, made the decision easy for the competition organisers.
“The general consensus was a top four (finals format), they all agreed they don’t want the season to go too long, or to go into the summer months,” McDermott said.
“They know it’s going to be a short season, so a top four just gets it over and done with.”
Their will have to be more discussions regarding the format of the finals series though, with teams torn on whether it should run for two or three weeks.
“We have two options on the table, option one is for three weeks, with the winner of one and two going into the grand final, and the loser playing the winner of three and four for a position in the grand final,” McDermott said.
“Option two is two weeks, with first playing fourth and second playing third and the two winners meeting in the grand final.”
McDermott hopes a rare face-to-face Group 9 meeting will help decide this matter and iron out any other issues before a draft draw is released.
“At this time it’s a top four, but we need to have a meeting to decide the format and I don’t want to do it over video conference,” McDermott said.
“The plan is that hopefully NSWRL will have their information out this week and once we have that, we can discuss it with all teams at this meeting.
It is expected that Group 9 will schedule the meeting to be held at Wagga RSL on a Saturday and Sunday in the coming weeks.
Blues captain/coach Dean Bristow wasn’t really fussed about the length of the finals, indicating his side would adjust to whatever was decided.
“To be honest, it doesn’t worry me, the quicker the better, so whatever they throw at us, we will be ready for it and hopefully come out firing,” Bristow said.
The Blues skipper did note that a shortened season and reduced finals format meant that early results would become all that more important.
“Realistically, if you drop two early games, you could kiss goodbye your season,” Bristow said.
“We need to be fit and to come out firing.”