Three tiers, less teams in each division, but more competitive rugby.
That’s the breakdown of the biggest shake-up to the Central West Rugby Union’s (CWRU) competition structure in over a decade.
CWRU chief executive officer Peter Veenstra revealed the changes at a press conference on Tuesday, with the Blowes Clothing Cup set to be reduced to six teams for the 2018 and 2019 season.
The prerequisite for the teams in the top tier will be first, second and colts grades, while the option of fielding a third grade side will remain.
The reduction in teams in the top tier means a new, second tier will be introduced.
The second division also boasts six teams, but participating clubs will require just a first and second grade side to be competitive.
The GrainCorp Cups will be reduced from the three pools – north, central and south – that began 2017, with northern and southern conferences to be reintroduced from the beginning of the new season.
The restructure is the biggest CWRU has employed since 2005.
Veenstra added clubs are yet to be put into their respective competitions for 2018 and 2019, but said those clubs that have battled to field teams in 2017 would potentially face being placed in the new tier.
The Central Western Daily believes Orange clubs Emus and City, along with Dubbo Roos, Bathurst's Bulldogs and CSU and Forbes will make up the six top tier sides.
That leaves Cowra, Mudgee, Parkes and Rhinos - all four clubs have forfeited different grades throughout 2017 - to drop onto the CWRU's second rung where two teams are required.
“The reality is clubs know where they’re up to,” Veenstra said.
“It’s a major restructure for central west competitions … the board has come up with this as the solution, and it’s been done in conjunction with the clubs.
“The board will have the final say in determining which clubs will go into which competitions.”
Veenstra said women’s rugby would be included in the restructure, with sevens teams at all clubs encouraged heading into 2018.
“The seven a side is something we’ll try and promote across all of the competitions, it’s been very successful in the southern Graincorp,” he added.
The draws for the new season, and where each club fits into the restructure, will be release before the CWRU annual general meeting on November 12.
Organising the 2018-19 draws will be Veenstra’s last task as CWRU CEO.
“The nuts and bolts are there, it’s now a case of putting names in position.”