WAYNE Bridge is looking forward to attending Group Three Rugby League games next year minus the pressure of being group chairman.
He was meant to step down following Sunday's annual meeting, ending a 15 year tenure before it was postponed. The meeting will now happen in December.
So he won't have to arrive at a game before the league tag starts and not leave until after the first grade is over. He won't have to deal with irate players, coaches, officials or spectators. He won't have to pick best and fairest points for the four grades and ensure all paperwork is complete, along with the myriad of other matters group officials encounter on a weekly basis in league season.
"I'll go to the game, have a beer and enjoy the football,'' he said with a smile.
Warren Blissett from Forster-Tuncurry is tipped to stand for the chairman's position. He is currently the Group Three Rugby League president. Mr Bridge doesn't know if there'll be any other nominees.
Mr Bridge is proud of the fact that he leaves administration with Group Three boasting a stable, eight club competition. Macleay Valley joined and Port Sharks returned to Group Three while he was in the chair.
"Most years our clubs have sides in all four grades, so that's been a positive thing.''
Mr Bridge recalls that Group Three was among the first in what was then the Country Rugby League to introduce women's league tag. It was a decision met with more derision than acclaim by some.
"That was in 2009. League tag had some critics to start with, but look now, league tag is now an integral part of our competition and has benefitted our clubs.''
However, it was grand final day 2011 that Mr Bridge looks back on with the most pride.
"I presented my son, Matt with the under 18 (premiership) shield after he captained the winning Wingham side,'' he said.
"In 1978 I had the pleasure to captain Taree United to win the under 18 premiership and accepted the trophy. I then had the pleasure of presenting the trophy to Matt in 2011. That was special.''
On the debit side Mr Bridge isn't a fan of the merger between the Country Rugby League and NSWRL.
Group Three's decision this year to play a grand final at Old Bar for the first time was vindicated. The Pirates pushed hard to host the game despite the lack of facilities at Old Bar Reserve.
"The Pirates did everything that we asked and the day was a success,'' Mr Bridge said.
"The gate was around $18,900 and if we didn't get that storm, we would have easily topped $20,000.''
Mr Bridge said he hasn't called fulltime on eventually returning to administration in some capacity.
"But it won't be for a few years if I do,'' he said.
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