Long-serving Group 10 supremo Linore Zamparini says the 2019 season may be his last at the helm.
Zamparini assumed the Group’s top job from the out-going Paul Rossiter ahead of the 2008 season, edging then-Bathurst Panthers’ president Peter Tobin and Lithgow’s Bill Ranse for the post, and has been a pillar at the top of the Western competition in his 12 years as either president or chairman.
The Oberon-based administrator was re-elected at the Group 10 annual general meeting in Bathurst on Sunday, and will be joined on the 2019 board by Peter McDonald (Cowra), Gary Goldsmith (Bathurst), Wayne Boyd (Bathurst), Graeme Osborne (Lithgow), Graham Ward (Bathurst), Adam Hornby (Blayney) and the newly-elected Andrew Blimka (Orange).
Blimka takes the place of Nathan Blanchard on the eight-man board, Zamparini taking the time to thank the leading Group 10 referee for his contribution.
“Nathan’s stepped down but he’ll still be a representative for the referees. He’s been doing a great job,” Zamparini said, adding he’s still enjoying his role with Group 10.
“Particularly with the board we’ve got at the moment, that makes everyone’s job a bit easier.
I think this could possibly be my last year, though. The Group’s in a good position at the moment and the board has been on a bit of a roll.Linore Zamparini
“We’re looking forward to the new season.”
Throughout a two-and-a-half hour AGM, Group 10 discussed a number of issues but one of the more pressing ones was the 2019 draw.
A later start appears on the cards next year, with the Penrith Panthers NRL game at Bathurst on March 30 likely to push the Bathurst knockout back to the first weekend of April.
Hopefully the competition will be as strong or better than it was in 2018.Group 10 chairman Linore Zamparini
The competition proper is likely to then start in the second week of April.
A spare weekend during the second round of draw will also be allocated in order for any weather-affected rounds, like the snowed-out weekend Group 10 battled in June, to be replayed.
Zamparini was hopeful every club will field at least four grades in 2019.
At Sunday’s AGM all clubs indicated premier league, first division, under 18s and league tag requirements will be met, while nearly every club will field an under 18s league tag side as well.
Zamparini said running a five-match program on game day had its challenges but he said the inclusion of another female grade made sense.
“The addition of the league tag girls has been great for a number of clubs,” he added.
“And I know a few clubs are looking at playing under 18s before first grade next season. The 18s game is general considered a better spectacle … it just means a few reserve graders have to get out of bed a bit earlier.
“Hopefully the competition will be as strong or better than it was in 2018.”
The Group 10 boss said he was also working with the referees’ association to improve numbers while the points system won’t change ahead of 2019.