Valley rep on FNCRugby board
By TONY WHITE
YAMBA-based solicitor Bob Thompson has been elected to the inaugural Far North Coast Zone Rugby Board.
Elections were held on Sunday night at the Bangalow Hotel.
The 55-year-old, who moved to Grafton in 1978, played with the Grafton Redmen until 1988 compiling nearly 300 games with this year's first grade grand finalists.
He moved to Yamba in 2001 and over the past two years had had affiliations with Yamba-based the Buccaneers, serving on the committee and coaching junior grades.
Thompson is also a credited referee, has managed various country rugby teams and chaired the country judiciary for the past six years.
The new six-man Board was formed following a directive from NSW Rugby Union.
"It's great to have a representative from the Clarence Valley with a primary voice on the new Board," Buccaneers spokesman Daryl Rock said.
The other elected Board members were: Graham Cook, Ben Fisher, Warwick Davidson, Tony Heeson and Mick Milino. Yamba's Peter Campbell missed by one vote on being elected.
Long-serving Maurie Ryan will remain president of the new Board.
Thompson is looking forward to the new challenge.
"The previous committee was made up of delegates from each club but rather than club affiliations, the purpose of the new board will be to set out what is best for the whole Zone and hopefully prove more stream lined and efficient than the old system," he said.
Thompson said he believed the future of rugby in the FNC was bright when considering the junior situation.
"The upsurge of juniors over the past five years certainly indicates plenty of interest and promise," he said. "But senior rugby has suffered over the past 10 years.
"Players that show promise and any player that has real talent in the area get picked up by Sydney clubs and elsewhere, AJ Whalley is a classic example.
"Those players are lost to the local game and you can't blame then wanting to pick up $100,000 contracts.
"It's hard to see very much improvement in that area but by the same token the game will survive and after all amateurs will play rugby as we do, basically for the enjoyment."