Rebel Ant Cowan goes over and scors a try during the Group 2 match between the South Grafton Rebels and Coffs Harbour Comets on Sunday at McKiitrick Park, South Grafton, 26th April 2015. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Rebel Ant Cowan goes over and scors a try during the Group 2 match between the South Grafton Rebels and Coffs Harbour Comets on Sunday at McKiitrick Park, South Grafton, 26th April 2015. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

BEHIND THE DESK: Is rugby league loyalty dead in bush footy?

BEHIND THE DESK: Is rugby league loyalty dead in bush footy? What are your feelings on players chasing the cash?

>> RELATED: Magpies hold crisis talks ahead of NRRRL season

>> RELATED: Star halfback abandons Rebels to side with Orara Valley

MATTHEW ELKERTON - Lack of loyalty: Bush going the way of the big smoke

A LACK of club loyalty has been an insidious issue in the NRL for years now.

Gone are the halcyon days of the 1980s where players would not be caught 'dead' in an opposition jersey.

Now to be a 'one club man' is an honour bestowed on a small minority.

Too often players are doing the dodgy on their club for the love of the money, the love of the city, or, in Darius Boyd's case - the love of Wayne Bennett.

But to see this process seep from the top league down to the game's roots in the bush is a shame.

As was the case this off-season for the South Grafton Rebels.

They lost not only a fantastic coach in Dallas Waters, but also a fair chunk of their playing roster as well.

Ant Cowan is the latest in the merry-go-round roster to depart after only pledging his allegiance to the 'Red V' weeks ago.

But now the fans of South Grafton who cheered the maestro all the way to the Premiership last year will get to watch him (and three other former Rebels) in the green and gold of Orara Valley.

But the Rebels are not the only Clarence Valley club struggling with loyalty after the Magpies lost a swathe of players in the off-season and have now been forced to fold their Reserve Grade.

While there are players who bleed the colour of their shirt - it is a shame to see some that only bleed in dollars.

BILL NORTH - A fan looks out for his club. A player looks out for himself.

DISLOYALTY. It's the unavoidable downfall of professional sport - no matter what rung on the ladder.

One of the joys of following your favourite team is forming and making a connection with your favourite players. But when they turn around and play for the enemy, how are you supposed to feel?

Players jumping from team to team on an annual basis is a tough one to swallow for passionate fans in NRL stadiums and local bush footy venues alike. And it is all too common as coaches look to build premiership winning squads and players chase the cash.

But at the end of the day, each individual must have his own back and make the best decision for himself and his family.

An interesting scenario is playing out among a group of players who, rather than being loyal to a club, are showing loyalty to each other.

Ant Cowan, Mal Webster and Steve Walker all tasted prolonged success at Macleay Valley Magpies. In 2015 they brought that winning culture with them to South Grafton - even becoming known as the Kempsey boys.

As soon as they arrived in the Clarence, they departed, but not back to Kempsey. This season the trio are at the core of a familiar group now playing for Orara Valley Axemen and will, no doubt, reproduce that winning feeling.



Victa boat motors on display

Victa boat motors on display

A piece of history at the Show

A cute new member for The McClymonts

A cute new member for The McClymonts

The McClymonts have a new band member, and she's super cute.

Worlds smallest cucumber wins big at the Grafton Show

Worlds smallest cucumber wins big at the Grafton Show

Produce Pavilion at the Grafton Show a big hit with small cucumbers

Local Partners