Countdown on to NRRRL season opener
NORTHERN Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) continues to gain momentum ahead of its season launch on April 12.
President Brian Rix said Novaskill had jumped back onboard as the NRRRL's major sponsor, alongside a host of new backers offering financial surety to the regional league.
Rix said the competition's 12 clubs, including fresh entrants Cudgen and the Tweed Coast, continued to improve professionalism and efficiency, while snaring new recruits and stewing over well-established rivalries.
He believes the NRRRL's continued push to improve the way it operates has motivated clubs to do the same. "We sorted out the draw on Monday night and we're ready to go after the Easter weekend," he said.
"We've produced plenty of talent in this league over the years and we've built a great presence in the region.
"All of our staff have been showing more enthusiasm and efficiency running the organisation and we've been getting great support from clubs.
"It's just great to see how smoothly the league is running at the moment."
Rix gave a special shout-out to the league's "fantastic" secretary Tanya Booth and other administrative staff who he said had banded together admirably leading into the season.
He said the NRRRL would likely continue to attract the attention of NRL squads looking for fresh blood, particularly the beleaguered Gold Coast Titans.
"We've got a lot of players who have gone to the Titans over the years and I expect that will probably continue," he said. "We've got three recruits in the under-20s Titans at the moment.
"There's always been really good attitudes from the NRL towards our area."
When it comes to crunch time, Rix said last year's winners Ballina might fall back into the pack this year.
"Ballina have lost a few players and they'll struggle a bit," he said. "I'd say Murwillumbah are looking very strong. There's still a lot of big boys on their side.
"Casino is the dark horse. They've got lots of energy and ambition."