THE Group Three/Hastings League women's rugby league nines will kick off tonight at Tuncurry and Wauchope.
However, the number of sides has dropped from 12 to eight.
"That's disappointing,'' Group Three chief executive Mal Drury said.
Originally matches were to be played on Saturday afternoons, but this was changed to Friday evenings to accommodate referees.
Mr Drury admits this could have had an impact, along with the cost of registration, which is $65 for the six week competition.
"I've heard a few players are also holding back and waiting for the 13-a-side competition proposed to start in February,'' Mr Drury added.
However, he said selectors will name a provisional North Coast Bulldogs squad for next year's Country Championships at the conclusion of the nines. Players will have to be involved in the nines to be considered for the representative team.
You may also like:
Mr Drury said matches in the southern section of Group Three will be played at Tuncurry and Wingham.
"We were going to play at the Jack Neal Oval in Taree but with Old Bar only fielding one team now it won't be necessary,'' he added.
Matches will kickoff at 6.30 and the program should be finished by 8.15. The season will conclude on November 22.
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Great Lakes Advocate newsletter here.