Rebels without a clue
By TONY WHITE
THE future of the South Grafton Rebels Rugby League Football Club remains in limbo after an acrimonious annual general meeting at Grafton District Services Club on Wednesday night.
Less than 20 people attended the AGM with club president Allan Rudduck describing the small turnout as 'very disappointing'.
In many ways the AGM was a shambles with in-fighting, resignations and dissension dominating the evening.
A number of questions regarding the club's contentious financial position were left unanswered because full financial statements were not available.
As a consequence no treasurer's report was tabled.
Club accountant/auditor David Robards warned potential new committee members of some serious concerns in several areas.
"There seems to be something basically wrong with the calculation of player payments, which has caused major problems," he said.
He warned possible future committee members that: "I have serious accounting concerns.
"I'd be very careful if signing on with the committee what your commitments are with this club.
"Signing yourself up, in dollar terms now, is fraught with chaos."
Robards said yesterday the Rebels' financial and management problems were not unique to the club and relatively common in other amateur sporting clubs. He said GST requirements were also a major cause for concern.
The new committee from last year had agreed to honour previous obligations from the former committee 'results of a trading deficiency', Robards said.
Robards claimed the club had not been well managed this season.
He said long-term problems of lack of coordination, a dysfunctional committee and conflict within the club, were evident in the latest committee.
"The committee needs to develop management techniques and address administrative requirements or the club's future is certainly in jeopardy," he said.
Four members of the committee, secretary Janita Cooper, senior vice president Robin Smith, treasurer Maree O'Malley-Smith and committee person Tanya Fallon will not seek re-election.
Cooper said she had been 'disappointed decisions made had not been discussed at committee level' and suggested 'it was time for the club to look at the big picture and consider amalgamation'.
An emotional Robin Smith told the AGM: "I'm out of the club. As far as I'm concerned I'm bashing my head against a brick wall. This committee does not work together.
"I've busted my guts for this club. If you're going to stick your head out, make sure it's not going to get chopped off."
Rudduck was the only person elected to a new committee as president.
Due to the lack of numbers and the refusal of several people to accept positions on the committee, a motion was moved to defer election of office bearers until a second AGM, when financial details will be available, scheduled for November 16.
Rudduck said yesterday he remained confident the club would trade its way out of trouble next season.
He admitted there had been 'problems' with the committee this year adding: "you get some people on committees not used to handling money and that causes a certain amount of conflict."
Rudduck also claimed the club inherited a debt of about $60,000 from the previous administration.
"I'm confident all the committee positions will be filled," Rudduck said.
"But yes, at the moment the club is still in limbo, everything is in abeyance.
"I believe the club will survive next year, sure it will be tight, but we should be able to do it.
"Everyone has got to pull their heads in and band together, not just the same few doing all the work, but if that doesn't happen, survival is out the door."
Rudduck said coming functions involving the club would help to alleviate player payment commitments.
He said money raised from those functions should enable the club to surface its player debt for 2005 and any extra money raised would go towards 2004 payments.
He revealed the club's three current largest debtors were Clarence Valley Council, the Country Rugby League and players.
"A payment schedule has been put in place to address those matters," Rudduck added.
Rudduck, who claimed at the AGM players often acted like 'prima donnas', confirmed Ray Mercy would be first grade captain-coach next season.