WINGHAM will lead a push for the Group Three Rugby League season to be extended from 14 games to 17 at Sunday's group annual general meeting to be held at the Wingham Services Club.
The group released a proposed draw to the eight clubs last month that had the majority of grades kicking off on the weekend of May 4 and 5. If Lake Cathie is accepted into the under 18s, that competition would start three weeks earlier as nine sides would be involved.
However, Wingham treasurer Craig Martin said the Tigers believe the competition should kickoff at the start of April and run to September.
"By mid-April the NRL has been going for nine or 10 weeks and the Hastings League has started,'' he said.
"Most of our clubs begin training in mid-January or earlier, yet we're not playing until May.''
Most of our clubs begin training in mid-January or earlier, yet we're not playing until May- Wingham treasurer Craig Martin
For many years Group Three played a three round season when there were seven clubs involved. This usually kicked off in mid-March, with the grand final mid-September.
Clubs played 18 competition games. Since the group expanded to eight clubs it has generally been a two round, 14 game season.
However, Mr Martin pointed out that the group did experiment with a 17 round competition midway through last decade.
"We divided into northern and southern divisions and played three extra games,'' he said.
He admits there were flaws with this as the northern sides were much stronger than the majority of those in the south. His own club, Wingham, was the main beneficiary, as the Tigers won all three matches against their southern opponents
He said Wingham will move to again form two divisions that will include two teams from the north and two from the south. Mr Martin maintains that the gulf in standard has closed between the northern and southern clubs in the past three seasons.
"We can decide the teams by a draw from the hat. They'll play each other three times giving 17 games with an early April kickoff,'' Mr Martin said.
He understands that this means some clubs will get an extra home game.
"But surely we can reverse that the following year,'' he said.
Mr Martin said the northern and southern are now more evenly matched and indications are this will again be the case in 2024.
He has been on the phone to the majority of clubs during the week and is confident the Tigers will have enough support to get the motion through.
"But I guess we'll see on Sunday,'' he said.