CRASH TACKLED: Dirrawongs exit causes headaches for Magpies
RUGBY LEAGUE: Lower Clarence Magpies pre-season preparations have been left in the lurch after NRRRL announced the axing of Northern United from the 2017 competition.
Magpies had a pre-season trial match scheduled with the Dirrawongs at Angourie Sports Complex next month but with this week's announcement from NRRRL boss Robin Harley the fixture is now up in the air.
Lower Clarence captain coach Dan Randall said it was not quite panic stations for the Magpies with plenty of back-up options available.
"I heard speculations they were going to fold before but I was unsure how true they were,” Randall said. "If they ship off then we will just have to find someone else.
"I am sure there is no shortage of teams who will want a pre-season run either in this competition or another. It shouldn't put us out too much.”
Randall flirted with the possibility of a Clarence Valley showdown against one of the two Grafton Group 2 sides and said there was plenty of time to work out scheduling.
"It would be good to have a run up against Wicksy's men or the Rebels,” he said. "If Northern doesn't come through we might have to make the call up river and make a day out of it.”
There is still a slim possibility of the Dirrawongs taking the field this season after CRL regional area manager Kevin Hill confirmed the governing body was working side-by-side with the embattled league club.
Hill is assessing documentation submitted by the cash-strapped club to determine if it satisfies the criteria to enable the club to re-enter for the 2017 season.
Harley has given CRL and the Northern United board a slim window of opportunity to prove their place in the NRRRL competition for 2017.
He said the governing bodies must prove in the coming days if the club meets the criteria to participate in the competition.
That criteria mainly involves implementing effective governance strategies and ensuring financials are in order.
Mr Harley said Northern United owe debts to about five businesses as well as Lismore City Council.