BlackCats back in first grade hibernation until 2014
By NICK MCGRATH
ENSURING Blackheath is a viable Group 10 commodity is the most important thing for the competition, even if that means the Blackcats go back to being just a first division and under 18s club throughout the 2013 season.
Orange Hawks president John Hill spoke with the Central Western Daily on Monday and said Blackheath opting out of premier league this season wouldn’t “make that much difference” to the the 2013 title race.
CYMS skipper Mick Sullivan was of a similar opinion.
Sullivan believes “it was always going to be hard” for the Blackcats to jump into the deep end of top flight football, especially without sufficient player numbers, the adequate finances and more importantly the talent pool.
The former NRL player said the Blue Mountains-based club would be better served rallying throughout the next season, with one eye on making the jump in 2014.
“It’s better for them not to be in this season if they’re just going to drop out halfway through the season,” Sullivan said.
“It’s better to keep building for a first grade side and continue to make sure the club is both financially viable and the first grade side is competitive.”
Unlike last year when Blackheath nominated for both first division and under 18s, opposing clubs won’t be forced to watch on as their lower grade sides back-up to play games on against the Blackcats on Saturday and then Oberon on Sunday.
Blayney taking the premier league competition to nine teams and bumping each of the lower grades to 10 removes that scheduling drama.
That’s the big plus for Hill.
“The good thing is we don’t have to back up. That was a real sticking point for us. We probably wouldn’t of been able to do it again,” Hill said.
Although not surprised by the withdrawal, Hill added it was disappointing the 2013 Group 10 premier league competition wouldn’t have 10 teams, as the game’s executive indicated it would back at the annual general meeting in November last year.
“I suppose you get a little riled up when Group 10 said we’d definitely have 10 teams,” he said.
“I asked at the AGM if they were sure about it and we were guaranteed (10 teams).
There will now be a bye included in the premier league draw for 2013.
The Group 10 season begins on April 7.