FOR the first time in a long while the VB South Coast Group 7 Rugby League first grade competition will have no central Shoalhaven teams.
The 2011 Group 7 first grade competition will only host a total of eight teams, with the Shoalhaven Jets and Bay and Basin Sharks both indicating they will not be in the top division.
Group 7 general manager Jim McAuliffe said it is disappointing there will be no central Shoalhaven teams in 2011.
“With the Jets and Sharks out, it leaves us with only eight teams in the top grade which is disappointing,” he said.
“The competition will definitely be much tougher – there will be no easy games and I expected a tight contest for all involved,” McAuliffe said.
The Shoalhaven Jets have nominated just three teams for 2011 – reserve grade, under 18s and a women’s league tag sides, with club president Peter Atfield citing the lack of quality players to have a top grade.
“To put it simply, as a club we didn’t have sufficient quality players to contest first grade,” he said.
“To protect the interests of current Shoalhaven players the club has decided to submit a full strength reserve side as well as an under 18 squad and a women’s league tag team.”
But Atfield said the club was aiming to rebuild a first grade side for next year’s season, as long as player numbers permit.
Bay and Basin United Sharks have also withdrawn from the top flight competition.
As the club’s organising committee regroups and reconsolidates after an off-season of administration alterations, new president Jason Sharp said the club would field only a reserve grade and under 18s.
“We have lost a number of players from last year and don’t feel we can compete in the top grade this season,” Sharp said.
“It’s disappointing that both clubs will be missing from the top grade,” McAuliffe said.
After the pain and stress of a total 14 draw redrafts in the preparation of season 2010, Group 7 officials have awaited final grade statements from each club before entering the draw process which is due to start at the end of this week, to ensure a concrete document.
First grade will have eight teams – Warilla-Lake South, Albion Park-Oak Flats, Jamberoo, Kiama, Gerringong, Berry-Shoalhaven Heads, Milton-Ulladulla and Batemans Bay.
Reserve grade will feature 11 teams and under 18s 10.