Group Three junior rugby league returns in 2020 with shortened season

Wingham under 18 player JJ Gibson races clear of the defence during a match last season. The Tigers 18s will play in the Group Three Junior League this year.
Wingham under 18 player JJ Gibson races clear of the defence during a match last season. The Tigers 18s will play in the Group Three Junior League this year.

GROUP Three Rugby League under 18 teams will take part in this season's Group Three junior competition.

The under 18 matches will be played on Saturday afternoons and Group Three JRL president Warren Blissett expects that all eight sides would be represented.

As is the case in many other regional areas there'll be no senior football in Group Three this year, with clubs expressing concerns about problems related to COVID-19 restrictions. For this reason the juniors offered to take on the under 18 competition.

Group Three's season will be underway from Friday July 17 when the girl's league tag will be played. This is in the under 13, 15 and 17 age divisions. Boy's grades from under sixes through to 18s will start the following day.

Regular-season games are scheduled to run until September 11/12, with the semi-finals starting the following weekend. This will see the side placed first meeting the fourth placed team in one match with second playing third in the other. Winners are set to clash in the grand finals starting on Friday September 25.

However, for the first time the grand finals would be played on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.

"We'll have the league tag on Friday night with the modified age divisions (under 10s to 12s) on the Saturday,'' Mr Blissett said.

The under 13s-18s will be decided on the Sunday. Mr Blissett said the time required between each game under COVID-19 restrictions would make it impossible to play all the boy's grades on the Saturday. However, he said this could change if restrictions are eased before September.

"Wherever possible we'll align the club sides in the under 16s and 18s to play at the same ground,'' Mr Blissett said.

He added that some Group Two clubs have been added to the Group Three teams due to a lack of sides in that area. This is for this year only.

Mr Blissett said it doesn't appear that there's been any great drop off in team numbers due to the late start to the year.

"We expect there would be some parents who would consider the COVID-19 is too big a risk,'' he said.

"However, we're all systems go and looking forward to playing some football.''