GROUP Three Rugby League chairman Wayne Bridge said Camden Haven won't feature in the group's future planning following the club's withdrawal from this season's competition last week.
The Eagles informed the group they didn't have enough players after initially nominating for first grade, under 18s and women's league tag. Last season Camden Haven played league tag and under 18s, although the 18s didn't see the season through.
"In that area there's the Kendall Blues, Laurieton Stingrays and Lake Cathie Raiders playing in the Hastings League,'' Mr Bridge said.
"I don't think there's room for another club up there, unless they decided to work together and make it happen. But they're not interested in the bigger picture.''
Camden Haven fields sides in the Group Three Junior League and this was the reason the club approached Group Three to play in the senior competition.
"They wanted somewhere for their under 16s to go after they finished juniors,'' Mr Bridge explained.
Mr Bridge thinks it unlikely the Group Three member clubs would allow Camden Haven to nominate for lower grades again.
"After what's happened this year I think they'll be gun shy,'' he said.
Mr Bridge said there would need to be a united effort by the Camden Haven community to commit to Group Three.
"From what I've seen, I don't think that will happen,'' he added.
Camden Haven returned to Group Three in 1981 after being a powerhouse in the then Group Three Saturday League. The Eagles showed early promise, attracting quality coaches including Wauchope great Joe Taylor, former Parramatta forward John Beecher and former Western Suburbs Newcastle star David 'Chook' Howell. The Eagles made the 1988 grand final, where they were comfortably beaten by Taree Old Bar.
However, Camden Haven faced an almost yearly battle for player numbers due to competition with the Hastings League and Group Three clubs coupled with a lack of employment opportunities in the area.
The Eagles dropped out of the competition in 1990 but eventually returned in the breakaway Mid North Coast Amateur League. The amateur league came back to the Country Rugby League fold in 1994 and those clubs and the Group Three southern clubs formed a revamped senior competition in 1995.
Camden Haven enjoyed two golden seasons in 2005/06, winning back-to-back premierships, but lost a host of players and didn't form in 2007.
Camden Haven's withdrawal means that eight clubs will now contest the Group Three first grade and makes for a more manageable draw. The competition now starts on Saturday, April 30 and the season-proper will be played over 14 rounds, not 18 as would have been the case with Camden Haven involved.
There'll be eight teams in reserve grade and under 18s and seven in league tag, as Macleay Valley won't have a side.
Grand final day will now be Saturday, September 10, not September 24 as was the case in the previous draw.
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