Evans Head hooker Nathan Walmsley shapes to move in NRRRL last season. The Bombers have pulled out of the competition this season. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.
Evans Head hooker Nathan Walmsley shapes to move in NRRRL last season. The Bombers have pulled out of the competition this season. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.

Shock decision as ‘strong’ team pulls out of NRRRL

PLAYER welfare issues and tough coronavirus restrictions has led to Evans Head pulling out of the upcoming Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season.

Club president Grant McGeary said having no contact at training and stringent rules on game day was going to make it an impossible task for the Bombers.

Clubs are yet to receive the green light from NSW Rugby League to return to full contact at training with the season just four weeks away.

"The biggest thing is player welfare and we didn't want to see any of these guys getting hurt by going straight back into physical contact in a game," McGeary said.

"A lot of them are tradies and we don't want them injured and out of work because they weren't physically ready to play rugby league.

"There are a number of other issues that wasn't going to make it viable to play a shortened season.

"It's gone past being a weekend sport and you to look at it and run it as a business now.

"We need to look after our sponsors and make sure they're getting the most value for their money.

"For the longevity of the club this was the best option moving forward and we'll definitely be back next season.

"We also share our facilities with cricket and touch footy and we wanted to do what was best for the whole community."

There is a chance other clubs will follow the Bombers in the coming weeks with an NRRRL management meeting set for next week.

Evans Head has had some lean years on the field in first grade but were expected to bounce back this season after recruiting well over the break.

"We've never been as strong, we've got some money in the bank and we recruited well on top of what we already had," McGeary said.

"We're definitely not using that as an excuse and we believe we would have had a really good season.

"I'd imagine we won't be the only club (pull out) and they'll probab be a few more after the meeting next week.

"We don't have any problem with the NRRRL moving forward without us and we wish them well in getting the season going."

NRRRL is expected to run from July 18 to October 18.