Lower Clarence Magpies Under-18s have carried themselves with pride and dignity this season.
Lower Clarence Magpies Under-18s have carried themselves with pride and dignity this season. Sport In Digital

How the 'Clarence Valley has been forgotten by the CRL'

RUGBY LEAGUE: Six years ago a decision was made that would drastically change rugby league in the Clarence Valley for the years to come.

Country Rugby League along with the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC), News South Wales Rugby League and Queensland Rugby League came together to change the borders on competitions in both Northern NSW and Southern Queensland.

The Grafton Ghosts and the South Grafton Rebels were shifted south during the changes and although they appeared on board for the change at the time, Ghosts club president Gary Gillespie said it has had a negative effect in the region.

"I think CRL has to address the boundaries, the Clarence Valley has very much been forgotten by Country Rugby League,” Gillespie said.

"They cut the Clarence Valley in half six years ago and it hasn't worked.”

The Lower Clarence Magpies stayed in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition and Gillespie believes they have struggled without any competition in close quarters.

"They're in the position where they have the Magpies not producing a first grade side. One thing they failed on is the fact that the Magpies have no local derby, it's hard to find another team in CRL that hasn't,” he said.

"That's all due to Grafton sides going south six years ago, it was the demise of Lower Clarence.”

Gillespie expressed that the side have elected to make a return to the NRRRL competition and although they have been pushing for a move for a number of years now, he is confident on the latest attempt.

If the Ghosts were to be successful in their motion to rejoin the Northern competition, the South Grafton Rebels would then need to assess their intentions and either follow the Ghosts out of Group 2 or look to cement their spot in the Coffs Harbour based league.

The Ghosts' 2019 AGM is at the GDSC on Wednesday October 16 before they take to the NRRRL and Group 2 AGM's on November 11 and 12.



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