Newcastle Rugby League: Central coach Craig Miller raises concerns about this season's later kick-off times

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 Carroll
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 Carroll

US musician Bruce Springsteen sings about dancing in the dark, but Central coach Craig Miller is more worried about Newcastle Rugby League teams playing footy in the dark.

Miller raised concerns about the rest of this season 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 extra fixture, 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 flicked on 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).

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 matches the 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 last 30 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.

THE NSW 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).