League draw meets with clubs' approval

THE proposed draw for the upcoming Northern Rivers Rugby League (NRRL) season has been met with little criticism from the Clarence Valley's rugby league clubs.

NRRL vice-president Garry Anderson said there had only been a small number of clubs voice concerns about the draw.

“The draw is absolutely great, but when I say great, I mean it's as good at it gets,” he said.

“A couple of clubs have said something about the travel.

“(But) you just have to cop it on the chin and get on with it.”

Anderson said this year's draw should be praised as it had eradicated the need for clubs to endure a bye round.

“In the past when we have had byes no-one has ever been happy with it,” he said.

The Clarence Valley clubs have been dealt a particularly good hand, with none of the clubs' games clashing on the same day.

Grafton Ghosts coach Col Speed said he was 'happy' with the draw, even though the club had to endure 'a fair bit' of travel in the early rounds.

“Its part and parcel of the competition ... there is no point in whinging about (travel) it,” Speed said.

“We will have the same philosophy as we did last year and that's 'there are no excuses'.”

The Ghosts could play Mullumbimby in a tough first round encounter, but it is the games against newcomers Evan Heads and Northern United which Speed is most looking forward to.

“I've heard they have recruited well and they should be hard to beat,” Speed said.

Grafton Rhinos president Tony Hourigan said this season's draw, which could have the Rhinos facing defending premiers Byron Bay in the first round, was more balanced than previous years.

“All clubs get nine home games, which is a lot fairer than last year,” he said.

“We're quite happy with the draw.”

Anderson, who is also Lower Clarence Magpies president, said his club had one minor concern with the draw, but was assured there was a 'strategy in place' to overcome the matter.

NRRL officials will meet on February 2.


How the Valley's league clubs fared in the preliminary NRRL draw:

GRAFTON GHOSTS: Mullumbimby, Kyogle (h), Cudgen, Ballina (h), Rhinos, Northern United (h), Byron Bay, Evans Head (h), Murwillumbah, Tweed Coast (h), Lower Clarence, Marist Brothers, Casino (h), Rhinos (h), Lower Clarence (h), Kyogle, Cudgen (h), Tweed Coast.

GRAFTON RHINOS: Byron Bay (h), Evans Head, Murwillumbah (h), Tweed Coast, Ghosts (h), Marist Brothers, Casino (h), Mullumbimby, Kyogle (h), Cudgen, Ballina (h), Lower Clarence (h), Northern United, Ghosts, Northern United (h), Lower Clarence, Evans Head (h), Casino.

LOWER MAGPIES: Northern United, Casino (h), Byron Bay, Mullumbimby (h), Evans Head, Kyogle (h), Murwillumbah (h), Cudgen, Tweed Coast (h), Ballina, Ghosts (h), Rhinos, Marist Brothers (h), Kyogle, Ghosts, Rhinos (h), Northern United, Byron Bay (h).

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