By Geoff Newling

Group Four Rugby League’s 2020 season will be previewed by the second rendition of the Jack Woolaston Nines tournament on Saturday, March 21.

While the Group Four home and away season starts on April 4 and 5, the Jack Woolaston Nines tournament will kick off the playing season.

Held for the first time last season when Narrabri Blues won the inaugural tournament, the second nines event will be held at Jack Woolaston Oval again and hosted by the North Tamworth Bears.

“Going to be another great day and start to the season for us,” said Group Four Rugby League president Ray McCoy.

“It was a big day last season and a great way to usher in a new season.”

All the first grade clubs are in training and using the nines tournament as one of their main trials before round one.

North Tamworth Rugby League Football Club president, Jody Cooper, said planning for the nines tournament was well in hand. It is compulsory for all Group Four clubs and will also include several visiting clubs.

“Prizemoney is $2000 for the winner, $1000 for runner-up and $250 for third and fourth,” Jody Cooper said.

“We have sprint races and best and fairest awards as well.”

McCoy believes the nines tournament will continue to grow and spoke after Tuesday night’s Group Four board meeting which addressed many issues concerning the new season.

The Group Four general committee will meet in Tamworth on Sunday to discuss and settle on a number of issues in a season where clubs will nominate their special charity or gala days.

McCoy said the Group Four board hopes all clubs will promote and plan for gala, charity or old boys days while also encouraged to make all home games “events”.

The Group Four board also endorsed a five team finals competition in all four grades, especially with the addition of Moree in an eight-team first grade competition and Barraba in what is now a 10-team second grade competition.

Fitting in Barraba and reigning second grade premiers Manilla into the second grade competition has forced a bye in first grade for two teams every week.

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