First XIII players left dancing in the dark

SPOTLIGHT: Central Newcastle celebrate a try at St John Oval on Sunday, but Butcher Boys coach Craig Miller doesn’t want his team playing in the dark. Picture: Jonathan CarrollUS musician Bruce Springsteen singsabout dancing in the dark, but Centralcoach Craig Miller is more worriedabout Newcastle Rugby League teams playing footy in the dark.

Miller raised concerns about the rest of thisseason after the Butcher Boys accounted for previously undefeated Kurri Kurri at St John Oval on Saturday.

First-grade kick-off times are now 3:30pm, half-an-hour back from the traditional opening whistle, with an extrafixture, now five in total,to play on game day.

Nearing full-time around 5pm on the weekend it was getting quite difficult for players to see clearly, despite ground lights being flickedon in what were already gloomy conditions.

ROUND 5 FIXTURES: Lakes v Central Newcastle, Cessnock v South Newcastle, Kurri Kurri v Macquarie, Western Suburbs v Maitland (Saturday, May 26).

However, with days only becoming shorter as winter approaches, Miller reckons that current times may need to be reconsidered to give matchesthe best opportunity to finish with enough natural light.

“I really think the league needs to think about these 3:30 starts,” he said.

“I thought that game deteriorated in the last30 minutes. We played in the dark. Lighting at these local grounds isn’t good enough. The spectacle really detracts from two quality football sides playing against each other.”

Newcastle RL chief Matt Harris said clubs, outside Macquarie who retain 3pm starts at Toronto, originally voted in favour of the move.

* TOWNSON Oval will host catch-up games between Souths and Maitland in reserve and open grades on Friday night.

The original encounters were postponed because of wet weather in round two.

All other teams across the grades have this weekend off, as scheduled in the 2018 draw.

CRL Newcastle and Jillaroos representative Isabelle KellyPost by CRL Newcastle and Jillaroos representative Isabelle Kelly.

*THENSW Country women’s squad, featuring eight from the newly formed CRL Newcastle side playing the state-wide competition, will meet for a training camp in Penrith this weekend ahead of national championships on the Gold Coast (June 1-3).

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