Yamba Buccaneers unhappy about surprise promotion
AFTER dominating the President's Cup for the last five years, the Yamba Buccaneers will line up in first grade when the season kicks off in April.
But the first the Buccaneers knew of their move to the top flight was the release of the draw by the Far North Coast Rugby Union.
And despite their successful run in the President's Cup, the news wasn't very well received by club president Robert Thompson who said he had already appealed the move.
"They released the draw a few weeks ago and I noticed then that they had us down to be in first grade," Thompson said.
"We got in contact with the FNCRU straight away and it turns out they haven't changed their mind yet.
"I don't want to be sounding too negative but we need to get players together and training regularly as it's going to be a step up from last year."
Former President's Cup coach Paul Rheinberger put his hand up to lead the first-grade squad, with former Iluka Cossack Grant O'Sullivan slotting into the assistant coaches role.
Harley Willox will coach the under-19s.
Rheinberger echoed Thompson's sentiments, saying Yamba would've preferred to have been consulted before the move.
"The biggest issue is that they put us in first grade without even asking us," Rheinberger said.
"It's as if they decided to put us up based on our consistent results in the President's Cup, but we might not even have the players to field a team.
"To throw us up here without asking if we had enough players is just rude."
They may yet become a victim of their own success, as they now must face the top players in the far north coast.
A potential solution could be to combine the resources of the Buccaneers and the Iluka Cossacks.
While it may increase depth to have more competitive teams at each club, Rheinberger said the Cossacks were facing a similar player shortage.
"I've heard Iluka are struggling as well," Rheinberger said.
"We don't want to see them fold so it sounds like a good idea but we'd have a lot to work out very quickly.
"Even if we find something that works, the FNCRU could still say no."
The 10-team competition will also involve Byron Bay's return to the top grade, while Bangalow will play in the top tier for the first time in their 10-year history.
The FNCRU will hear the appeal at Ballina on February 16.
The Buccaneers will be training at Turner's Beach every Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm.