Tigers return to Group 19 with new second division competition

EXCITING PROSPECT: Uralla president and captain Josh Clark is looking forward to the Tigers' return to Group 19 next season.
EXCITING PROSPECT: Uralla president and captain Josh Clark is looking forward to the Tigers' return to Group 19 next season.

Rugby league in the region is set for a major boost with Group 19 set to introduce a second division competition from next year. 

The proposed format, which will be formalised at Group 19’s AGM on November 12, will follow the former Group 4 second division tournament where clubs fielded a senior men’s and league tag team with no reserve grade or 18s with the first division competition remaining the same.

It means a host of clubs who played in outside competitions, including Uralla, Bingara, Bundarra and Tenterfield, will come back to Group 19. Earlier this year, Group 4 announced a restructure to their second grade competition and expanded it to include more teams, including the Tigers and fellow Group 19 club Bundarra.

With more travel added to the Group 4 structure, Tigers president Josh Clark welcomed the prospect of returning to Group 19. 

“We are all for it. We are looking forward to it, I spoke to all our boys, our coach and the committee and we are all on the same page,” he said. 

“If they regulate it with rules, like not too many first graders and stuff like that, it will be a pretty good comp.”

“If we were to stay in Group 4 this year we would have been going to Narrabri, Wee Waa, Gunnedah, Boggabri so it's heaps less travel for us staying here.

“[Tenterfield is] not too far and the next is Warialda which isn't very far at all.” 

A young Uralla side played in the Group 4 competition this year and finished just shy of a finals berth. 

The majority of their losses were decided by 10 points or less and with most of the team sticking around next year, Clark believes they can give the Group 19 title a tilt. 

“It doesn't really worry us too much, we have a pretty strong team and I think that comp we could actually win. We are trying to do a little bit of recruiting with people that have played in the past so we will definitely have a lot of players without losing too many,” he said. 

“We are looking like having Brett Monley coaching again so we are steaming ahead in Uralla at the moment.”

Clark also said the club will aim to add a number of Friday night fixtures to their season with a successful evening clash against Walcha this year.