IT left both Parkes and Cowra scratching their heads following last week’s preliminary final at Northparkes Oval, but the same rule won’t impact Saturday’s Blowes Clothing Cup grand final at Pride Park.
Parkes earned the right to play Orange City in Saturday’s decider after being the beneficiary of an odd by-law in the Central West Rugby Union constitution.
It states, at the end of five minutes extra-time each way, if the scores are still level then the side that finished the regular season higher on the ladder progresses further in the finals series.
Having battled for 80 minutes of normal time then a further 10 minutes of extra-time with no change in the 25-all score line, Parkes (second after 18 regular season rounds) progressed to the decider over Cowra (third).
“It was a funny feeling after the game, for both sides,” Cowra captain Adam Meiklejohn said.
“We weren’t really up to date on the finals rules, we hadn’t played in them for 13 years.”
Parkes coach Trevor Whitaker was aware of the rule, but admitted his side was lucky to benefit from it.
“We were very fortunate,” Whitaker said.
“We didn’t end the match very well and let them get back into it.”
The same rule, however, won’t be in play on Saturday in any of the five grand finals set to be contested at Pride Park.
If Orange City and Parkes can’t be separated after 80 minutes in the main grand final, then two 10-minute periods of extra-time will be played.
If scores are still locked, then a further two five-minute halves will be contested to try and determine a champion.
If that doesn’t work, then both Orange City and Parkes will be declared joint premiers.
CWRU chief executive officer Peter Veenstra said last week’s drawn preliminary final was the first time the rule has been implemented in first grade.
Overall, the last time the rule came into play was after the 19-all draw between Orange City and Dubbo Rhinos in the third grade preliminary final last year.
On that occasion, Rhinos progressed to the decider
“We will review that by-law,” Veenstra revealed. “The board will have a look at it. The board has the power to amend any by-law however they see fit.
“It just leaves a hollow feeling, in this case for both Parkes and Cowra.”
Meiklejohn believes the rule needs to be changed.
He argued not a lot of rugby is played when extra-time consists of just five-minute halves, with 10 minutes each way the best avenue to try and generate a result.
And if the scores are locked at the end of 20 minutes extra-time?
“Play until there is a result,” Meiklejohn said. “At least then the team that goes through deserves it.”