Dapto in top grade pennants
Dapto Huntley have been promoted to Grade 1 in Zone 16 pennants in 2017, with Windang dropping back to Grade 2 and state champions Warilla only having one top grade side in next year’s competition.
Warilla have won the past four Illawarra Zone 16 Grade 1 flags and clinched their second State Grade 1 crown last August at Nelson Bay BC.
The Gorillas begin the defence of their Zone 16 flag at home to Kiama on March 4, with 11 clubs in the top grade of Illawarra pennants in 2017, one less than the two-section format of 2016.
With Warilla winning the 2015 Grade 2 State flag they had two Grade 1 teams in 2016, but will only have one top grade side in 2017.
Windang have dropped back to Grade 2 and Dapto Huntley promoted to Grade 1, leaving an 11 team comp and a bye each week.
All clubs play each other once, with the top three clubs qualifying for the playoffs, along with Merimbula from South Coast.
Following a four team round-robin series the top two teams then advance to the State Finals in August. In 2016 Warilla and Wiseman Park qualified for the Grade 1 State Finals.
In 2017, Sydney clubs Cabra-Vale Diggers and St Johns Park will host the Grade 1 State Finals. Illawarra Zone 16 will not host a grade; in line with the rotation of finals across the zones.
The 2017 pennants draw for all grades begins on March 4, with no play on April 15 due to Easter. Clubs with players in the NSW team for the Australian Sides Championships on April 8 can reschedule their round six clash to Sunday April 23.