By PHILIP CHANDLER
Arrowtown and Wakatipu Premiers rugby coaches support this season’s truncated schedule, but query why they didn’t get duck-shooting weekend off.
The newly-released Central Otago draw features just one round, as against the traditional, home-and-away two-round format — apart from last year’s Covid delay- induced one-round format.
This season runs from April 17 till the grand final on July 10.
For the first time there’ll also be a Central versus Lakes game, presumably as a selection trial for Central Otago’s Topp Cup game against South Otago two weekends later.
There’s also a prolonged finals format, similar to rugby league’s NRL format, in which the winners of ‘semis’ between the bottom-four teams play the losers of the top-four semis as a back-door way of qualifying.
Arrowtown coach Dan ‘Pup’ Eyles says while one round means ‘‘you’re going to miss out on a few good battles, I think what they’ve tried to do is try and keep people interested’’.
With two rounds, ‘‘we found we were struggling to get people committed to a whole season’’.
‘‘What I’m hearing is people are probably more leaning towards that one round as a better option, and it gives them still a few months to go skiing or whatever else they want to do in the winter.’’
Wakatipu coach Brett ‘Big Show’ Anderson says ‘‘everyone seemed to enjoy [the one-round format] last year, and it worked’’.
‘‘It’s exciting, it’s fresh, in the world we live in now, it’s just good to have anything.’’
Eyles and Anderson, however, are less happy the comp’s starting a week later than other similar comps, and that the Wakatipu v Arrowtown derby is on duck-shooting day, May 1.
‘‘Everyone was of the opinion they should have started on the 10th [of April] and then had duck-shooting weekend off,’’ Anderson says.
‘‘But it is what it is, you’ve just got to roll with the punches and get into it.’’