League late with line-up
By TONY WHITE
WE'RE seven weeks away from the scheduled Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) kick off for 2006 ? and still no official ratification of a draw.
The problem revolves around sating the needs of 13 clubs and having to alter the draw following Tweed Coast Raiders announcing they will not field an Under-18 team this season.
"Yet another new proposal was perused by management last week but there is still a fair bit of adjustment to be done," NRRRL secretary Doug Harrison said.
"This is about the eighth draft we've had and still no agreement.
"We are trying to be as fair as possible with home and away games and will continue to work on it before putting the draft back to the clubs."
Providing two traditional local Clarence Valley derbies like Grafton versus South Grafton and Lower Clarence versus Grafton in the season proper is proving a major obstacle for management.
Clarence Valley clubs rely heavily on major gatetakings provided through the local derbies but according to NRRRL management, allowing Grafton, South Grafton and Lower Clarence to all play against each other twice is virtually impossible.
And there have been other rumbles of discontent from some northern clubs over the same issue.
"It's a nightmare," Harrison said.
"We're (management) hopeful of having an adjusted draft ready later this week that will be acceptable to everyone."
Harrison said most clubs had agreed to start the season on April 2 and no football would be played over the Easter holiday weekend.
Tweed Coast Raiders, which last season provided only second grade and Under-18 teams, will not field an Under-18 team this season.
Instead the club has informed NRRRL management it believes there are enough players for the fielding of first and second grade teams.
Most NRRRL clubs have an average of 40-plus senior players in both grades.