WHEN your club posts two wins from two games on the same afternoon and notches up 181 points in doing so, it is hard to think there could be anything wrong.
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However, after the Bathurst Bulldogs did just that against Blowes Clothing Cup rivals Parkes on Saturday, club vice-president Brian Roberson spoke of the need for change.
He and his club believe Saturday once more highlighted the need for the Central West Rugby Union board to introduce another tier to the competition.
As well as the one-sided games, Parkes had to forfeit both second and third grade, while Orange City’s women forfeited as well.
That same afternoon CSU forfeited third grade to Orange Emus and Cowra’s colts forfeited to Mudgee, while a week earlier, Dubbo Rhinos forfeited in all grades.
“What we have proposed to the Central West board, on more than one occasion, is to introduce an additional tier to the competition to facilitate clubs that have fewer registered players and are struggling to fulfil commitments to the competition they are playing in,” Roberson said.
“The Blowes Cup requires clubs to have a minimum of first grade, second grade and colts teams as well as a non-compulsory third grade team.
“This is challenging for teams from towns such as Mudgee, Dubbo Rhinos, Parkes and Cowra, simply due to available player numbers in those areas. It is not to do with the effort the clubs are making, but it is simply a numbers game.”
Bulldogs feel that introducing a second tier will help to bring back enjoyment for players and help to limit one-sided scores such as was seen between Bulldogs and Parkes.
They believe it would allow clubs with a smaller player pool to draw on the chance to easily honour their commitments and actually boost player participation across the entire competition.
“The primary intent of implementing another competition tier is to support and to grow these type of clubs who simply cannot compete with some of the larger clubs. This is solely to do with player strength. It has nothing to do with effort or desire, but it is simply just how it is,” Roberson said.
“If the structure is not adjusted for 2018, I strongly believe a further decline in player participation will occur.
“Not only are the smaller clubs losing more players, but so are the larger clubs. Smaller clubs are losing players due to the lack of enjoyment at being beaten week in, week out, sometimes by embarrassing scores.
“The larger clubs are losing players due to them not being provided consistent rugby, week in, week out. Whether that be from byes or from forfeits, some grades are going four or five weeks without a game.
“Some others have different opinions and believe playing in a different tier will further reduce those clubs strength due to being less attractive or less prestigious. Whilst I can appreciate that perspective, I do not agree with it and ask, how attractive or prestigious is it to be beaten by 50 points or more on a regular basis?
“How attractive or prestigious to have to play a game in colts, then back up to play second grade and even first grade to be on the end of several thrashings?”
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