Group 4 is considering scrapping the reserve-grade competition and having a “one-tier” competition next season that would become a two-tier finals series.
Group 4 chairman Ray McCoy said the preference was to keep the existing first-grade and reserve-grade structure.
“But at the end of the day with [team] nominations, when they come through at the AGM consideration is always there to have a one-tier competition [that] like the ladies league tag is broken up into two tiers for the finals.
“So there are a number of elements to look at between now and next year.”
McCoy mentioned Narrabri and Gunnedah withdrawing their reserve-grade sides mid-season, and then said: “If we get to the stage where the clubs look through their number next year and they have those work commitment [issues], the possibility is, maybe, [to have] a one-tier competition.”
He added: “It’s really going to come down to the clubs consolidating their numbers and knowing that when they make commitments for 2019, they can actually honour those commitments.”
Group 4 announced last week that the league tag competition would be split in two for the finals, with the top-five sides playing for the premiership and the bottom five sides playing in a less important finals series.
The concept was previously used in the now-defunct second division.
McCoy said that if the Group adopted the one-tier format next season, the competition could be broken into a top tier and a bottom tier at the end of the first round, when all the teams had played one another.
Group 4 restructured its competitions this season in a bid to strength first grade, resulting in the dissolution of the popular second division.
McCoy said: “We just can’t put a blueprint down and say ‘That’s it’. We’ve got to be able to adapt to acknowledge the [social] changes that are taking place.”