Redmen’s Jono Speechley fends off a Southern Cross University opponent.
Redmen’s Jono Speechley fends off a Southern Cross University opponent.

Grafton seeing red

THE Grafton Redmen will host the Far North Coast Rugby minor-semi finals tomorrow.

The problem is, no Grafton teams will be on display in the matches.

With the Redmen first grade side experiencing a lean season, all hopes were pinned on the Craig Howe-coached second grade team to fly the flag.

But unfortunately for Grafton Redmen supporters they missed out on a semi-final berth by a miserly point.

The problem is the way the Redmen second grade side ended up one point behind fourth-placed Lennox Head.

Howe says there is a glaring flaw in the points system, which has in retrospect cost his team any chance of running out on Saturday on home soil.

"We ended up one point behind Lennox Head and have now missed a home semi-final," Howe said.

"They (Lennox Head) were awarded two points for not playing a round-four game against Lismore.

"It appears there was a mutual agreement between the two clubs not to play the game.

"THE system is a rort and sets up the opportunity for teams to gain points when needed.

"My team approached me during the week and they are disgusted they have missed out."

Howe is referring to a round-four game between Lennox Head and minor premier Lismore, which Far North Coast spokesman Dave Clay says was abandoned and as a result both teams received two competition points.

"The game was abandoned and a date must be set within two weeks to re-play the match," Clay said. "It comes back to the board to allocate an alternate date if both teams can't come to a mutual agreement.

"We had a lot of rain around that time, so I presume that's why the match didn't go ahead."

The Examiner can reveal, after looking at rainfall records leading up to the round-four match between Lennox and Lismore (which was abandoned), the area received 48mm of rain.

A round-two match played between Lennox and SCU, also at Lennox Head's home ground, went ahead after the area received a massive 143.8mm of rainfall.

The Examiner contacted Lennox Head first grade coach Paul Jeffrey, who shed further light on the issue.

"It was the Easter long weekend and we were set to play on the Thursday night but they were doing work on the skate park next to the ground and severed the lights," Jeffrey said.

"We then thought about playing the game on Saturday but some of the Lismore team were going up to Brisbane for a Super 15 rugby match.

"We couldn't agree on rescheduling the game so we both received the two points."

Howe said the rule needed to be changed, otherwise teams would continue to gain undeserved points that could affect other teams' standings on the ladder.

"It's a bad rule and needs to be changed. It's open to rorting," he said.

"What's to stop teams contacting other teams and offering to send them a keg of beer if they agree to abandon the game and both teams take the two points?"

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