Summit set to tackle future of game

RUGBY LEAGUE: All locals with any black and white plumage should make the effort to attend the rugby league grassroots summit to be held on Saturday, February 18, at Angourie Sports Complex.

Councillor Debrah Novak, with the support of local and NRL coaches, have planned the summit. What comes out of it will have an impact on the future of the game in the Lower Clarence.

It's significant that it is being held in Yamba. That has to be the future for the Magpies. Everyone has great memories of days at the Showground - especially the 2009 grand final - but things aren't the same any more.

It's like saying the West Tigers future is at Leichardt Oval. It isn't.

Running clubs like ours is a real business. We need a strong business program and a five year plan. It cannot be a year-to-year proposition as to how many teams we can field. Some continuity of players and sponsors is essential.

Many readers will be surprised to know that it takes about $60,000 to run the club each year. That is a lot of raffle tickets and luckily the support in town of a Saturday morning has always been good. We are lucky that the "top pub" has come on board as the major sponsor.

One of the points I will be making at the summit is that the NRL should be making better use of the massive funds that has come to them via the new media deals. It shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to play our game.

Even junior players have to find close to $200 before they run on. Seniors are even more expensive and they want all the gear that goes with playing.

Some clubs are asking players to pay their own registration but then they risk losing those players to more wealthy clubs.

If the NRL was to underwrite the costs of all insurance components in registrations it would make it a lot easier for all those in Struggle St.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Numbers have been good at training and trial matches are on this month (both in Yamba) against Tweed Coast Raiders and Northern United.

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