Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels to face off in May
GRAFTONIANS will have to wait until May 25 for the next Grafton derby, according to a draft Group 2 draw.
The draw was released after Wednesday night's Group 2 meeting, where the existing clubs unanimously approved Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels' application to join the Coffs Harbour-based competition.
While it is only a draft and clubs are allowed to apply to Group 2 management for a change, both the Rebels and Ghosts have ruled out any opposition to the draw.
Group 2, which welcomed Tooheys New as a major sponsor on a "generous" six-year deal, will feature nine clubs after Macleay Valley Mustangs successfully applied for a transfer to Group 3.
Chief Administration Officer Jim Anderson said it was shaping up to be a strong season.
"We expect Mustangs to be accepted by Group 3, but I can't really comment on that future," Anderson said.
"Tooheys New are getting back into country footy and it's great for us. Their logo will be on all of the jerseys and naming rights for the competition.
"We had a good relationship with Carlton Breweries and looking forward to this partnership with Tooheys."
Group 2 has again put the call out for Clarence Valley referees to join the competition, as well as volunteers to get involved with referee appointments and management.
According to the draw, South Grafton will kick off its season against 2013 runner-up Nambucca Heads at McKittrick Park, while the Ghosts will get the longest road trip in the competition out of the way early against Macksville.
All eyes will be on round 7, however, as the Ghosts come up against former premiership-winning coach Col Speed and his defending premiers the Coffs Comets.
Speed coached Ghosts to consecutive premierships in 2010-11, before working with Queensland Rugby League club Mackay Cutters in 2012.
He returned to win a premiership this year with the Comets.
South Grafton's round 9 game against Woolgoolga Seahorses will pit Rebels captain Grant Stevens against his former club.
Remember these dates
Rd 1 (April 6, 2014): South Grafton Rebels v Nambucca Heads (H)
Rd 1 (April 6, 2014): Macksville v Grafton Ghosts (A)
Rd 7 (May 18, 2014): Coffs Comets v Grafton Ghosts (A)
Rd 8 (May 25, 2014): Grafton derby, Frank McGuren Field
Rd 9 (June 1, 2014): Woolgoolga v South Grafton (H)
Grand final: September 7, 2014