League wants fair go in lower grades
By TONY WHITE
THE Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) Board will tonight meet to discuss the contentious issue of clubs stacking their reserve grade sides with first graders when playing South Grafton Rebels.
Whilst there is nothing official in the rules to stop coaches using first graders in reserve grade there is a growing feeling the practice is not in the spirit of the game and does little to promote rugby league in general.
The NRRRL have received an official letter from South Grafton management seeking assistance in the matter.
Unable to field a first grade team this season, the Rebels have copped beltings in both games, beaten 70-nil against Cudgen and 82-4 against Lower Clarence.
In both games at least half a dozen quality first graders from both teams took to the field.
Rebels reserve grade coach, experienced Phil 'Sully' Sullivan, admitted the two floggings 'are not helping our cause' as the club is desperately trying to attract players to bolster its ranks.
"I can understand other clubs looking after their own interests, but even if I wasn't a coach and just looking on from the sidelines, you could see it's obvious there is not a fair go happening," he said.
"If other clubs want to promote the game of rugby league then let's play on equal footing.
"I see a hard working committee doing everything they can to keep the club going and it's just frustrating seeing what they're up against.
"And mismatches are certainly not helping our cause. So far its been heavyweights against a lightweight. Having seen the team get belted twice in a row doesn't help us get some players back to the club.
"Let's play on even terms and see what happens from there."
The Rebels have a strong supporter in NRRRL secretary Doug Harrison.
"They (Rebels) deserve a fair go," Harrison said.
"It's a matter of clubs having credibility and people sticking to their word.
"Clubs should be playing their reserve grade sides against them not with six and seven first graders. What about those blokes in reserve grade who miss out.