WHETHER the iconic Peel Schools Rugby League Carnival goes ahead faces its major test in Tamworth tonight.
An annual general meeting is scheduled to start in the Wests Diggers club at 7pm.
Just how many people turn up and then are willing to take a hand in running the 67-year-old schoolboy rugby league carnival will determine whether it continues, said Peel Schools Carnival chairman Peter Blom and publicity officer Mike Cashman.
They sought the help of The Northern Daily Leader last week to make sure the festival of football continues.
Cashman reckons the carnival is at a “crossroad” after this year’s carnival was cancelled for the first time because of insurance issues.
However those issues have been addressed by the Country Rugby League (CRL), who have also thrown their help behind modifying the carnival and running it in the same week as a lead-in to the annual City-Country games to be played at Scully Park Regional Sporting Precinct.
Cashman said the CRL had pledged “significant support to the carnival, including referees and officials”.
“An exciting prospect is the possible scheduling of the Primary section to coincide with the much awaited City v Country match next year on the new Scully Park Regional Sporting Precinct sports complex, when many of the NRL stars would be able to attend the carnival on the day prior,” he said.
“Another possible innovation could be the inclusion of Ladies League Tag, a huge growth area in Country Rugby League, within the Secondary section.
“If the 2016 Carnival is to proceed it is imperative that an organising committee be formed at the AGM.”
He knows it’s going to be hard work but hopes for a good turnout tonight.
“We’ve lost some good people. Graham Hayward and Pete Winner have retired – they have been real stalwarts as treasurer and secretary.
“We need some people to put their hand up and get the Peel Schools going again.”
He said the addition of girls’ teams playing Ladies League Tag is a wonderful addition to the carnival and thinks the addition of the City-Country game is a major plus.
“The City Country game is on the Sunday (June 8) and we’ll have the open secondary on the Wednesday and the primary divisions on the Saturday before the City-Country.
“It means the City-Country players can get to the primary day.
“The CRL has helped us out as much as they can and will help make it a big week.”
The Peel Schools Carnival started in 1949 and, at its height, reached 244 teams (around 3500 players).
It was deemed the biggest schoolboy carnival in the Southern Hemisphere and still attracts around 100 primary and secondary teams.
Further details can be obtained from Blom (6769 1648).