GROUP 10 president Linore Zamparini says he’s gearing up for one of the closest finals series he’s seen in seven years in the top job.
Elected president of Group 10 in the lead-up to the 2008 season, Zamparini believes any one of the six teams still vying for a place in this year’s premier league top five has legitimate claims on the 2014 top prize, and the nature of such a contest will see rugby league in Group 10 reach new heights.
“I think it will be,” Zamparini said when asked if 2014 is shaping up as the closest finals series he’s seen.
“The teams playing this year ... there’s Pat’s, the two Orange sides, Mudgee, Cowra and Panthers are knocking on the door, it’s as close as I’ve seen.”
Zamparini said with the race for spots in this year’s finals still not finalised ahead of the last regular season round, Group 10 fans can expect another gripping round of rugby league over the weekend.
“In the last two or three rounds, if clubs win a game or drop a game it’s meant they’ve moved from first to fourth and vice versa. Again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a competition this close,” he continued.
It’s a bold sentiment coming off what was a mammoth 2013 finals series for the Group.
Last year’s finals, a series that culminated in a 22-14 grand final victory to Orange CYMS over Orange Hawks in front of 5000 people at Wade Park, saw a total of 11,000 people stream through the gates to generate close to $95,000 over the course of four weeks of finals football.
The grand final alone last year netted Group 10’s bottom line nearly $50,000.
The jump in revenue at the back end of last year has meant Zamparini and his Group 10 committee has bumped this year’s total prize money pool to just over $30,000.
A first for the Group, the huge winnings on offer will see premier league winners take home nearly $10,000.
“I think it’s great the prize money is more than last year, and we’ve included league tag which is significant as well,” Zamparini said.
“It’s an increase, and hopefully with the finals series we’ve got coming up, next year’s prize money pool will be increased again.”
Prize monies won during the finals series filters down as low as the fifth-placed side in each competition - premier league, first division, under 18s and league tag.
And, also cause for glee for Zamparini, nigh on all of the game’s clubs will be represented come the first week of the play offs, set to begin with a elimination semi-finals on Saturday, August 23.