GROUP Three Rugby League is facing a severe shortage of referees for senior grades just two months before the start of the season-proper.
“At the moment we only have 13 referees, and that’s 10 short,’’ Group Three chief executive Barrie Smith said.
Group Three Referees Association will discuss the problem at a meeting set for Friday February 23 at the Wingham Services Club.
“Hopefully a few have been a little slow out of the blocks and we’ll have more names by the February 23 meeting,’’ Mr Smith said.
“I know a few of our referees have been tied up with touch football – a number will be involved with the Junior State Cup at Port Macquarie this weekend.’’
Mr Smith admitted the possible shortfall in referee numbers was ‘a worry.’
While the majority of the eight Group Three clubs prefer matches on Saturday the group has to program games on Saturdays and Sundays to ensure there are enough match officials for all grades. It is common for referees to run a line and also control games on the one day.
The Group Three season proper will start the weekend of April 14 and 15, however, the XX Trophies pre-season will be underway from Saturday March 10 and will run for two weekends while referees will also be required for trial matches starting this month.
Meanwhile former premiership winning Wauchope hooker Dean Hurrell has been named coach of the Group Three under 23 men’s representative side. Group Three will meet Group Two in under 23 men and women’s league tag on Saturday April 21 at the Jack Neal Oval.
Lyn Eason from Forster-Tuncurry will coach the league tag team.
This is the first representative appointment for both.
Hurrell has captain-coached Comboyne in the Hastings League for the past two years. Eason has been heavily involved with coaching league tag and touch football at Forster-Tuncurry.
Last year Group Three defeated Group Two in the league tag encounter but was heavily defeated in the 23 men’s game. Sides for the Country Championships will be named at the conclusion of the representative games.
The majority of coaching appointments for the inaugural Indigenous/All Stars game to be played at Wauchope on Saturday April 7 have also been finalised.
Jason Holland will coach the indigenous male under 23 team with Lyn Eason in charge of the All Star league tag squad. Tim Moorehead will coach the indigenous league tag side. The group has yet to appoint a coach for the under 23 All Star men.
“A couple of people have yet to get back to us, so we expect to fill that position soon,’’ Mr Smith said.
Games will be used as trials for the group representative squads.