Border Patrol focus in NRRRL
THE newly-elected NSW Rugby League board looks set to play a major role in the future of Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
The changes in governance came 12 months earlier than originally planned with New South Wales Rugby League and Country Rugby League merging last month.
Since its formation on October 18 the board has already denied Grafton Ghost re-entry to NRRRL from Group 2 while another Tweed club has been approved for the first time.
Bilambil were accepted at the NRRRL annual general meeting on Monday night.
The competition could have as many as 13 teams competing next year. The Jets leave behind a Gold Coast competition which will likely only field six first grade teams next year while Group 2 is battling to keep eight sides going.
NRRRL now has teams from Bilambil, Cudgen and Tweed Coast while outgoing president Robin Harley said they would find it tough to return to the Gold Coast in the future.
"The border is the border now and the Gold Coast is run under Queensland Rugby League's watch,” Harley said.
"The other Tweed teams have been embraced here and Bilambil know they won't be able to go back a year or two down the track. We always had a great relationship with the Ghosts, too.
"The major decisions and rulings will come from Sydney and I think where the Gold Coast went wrong was allowing too many clubs in that didn't field teams in every grade. The Titans lack of success (in the NRL) and some of the pathway programs hasn't helped anyone either.”
Long-serving NRRRL official and CRL vice-president Doug Harrison is part of the NSW board which includes the likes of Dr George Peponis and Nick Politis.
"This merger between the New South Wales Rugby League and Country Rugby League has been on the agenda since the early 1990s and has been a major strategic priority of our board since I became Chairman,” Dr Peponis said.
"It is the most significant governance development in the game in New South Wales for 80 years and we are really excited about what that means for the future of rugby league in this state and the opportunity a single governing body presents for everyone at all levels of the game from the city to the country.”