Mullum Giants forced to sit out NRRRL season
ONE of Australia's earliest rugby league towns will be without a team this year when Mullumbimby sit out the 2016 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season.
A decision was made Monday night when the Giants were denied a request to field just one team in reserve grade this season.
The decision was made by NRRRL management and two representatives from each club in the competition.
It comes less than a week after Lower Clarence were forced to withdraw from first grade and reserve grade.
There is more than 200 years' history between the two clubs with Mullumbimby founded in 1909.
Byron Bay was the last club to drop down to reserve grade where they won the premiership in 2011 before returning to the top grade the following season where they remain now.
The biggest issue for Mullumbimby is the club felt it did not have the numbers or quality of players to be competitive in first grade.
"It's obviously disappointing for everyone involved and no one wants to see this happen," NRRRL secretary Tanya Booth said.
"Sometimes clubs struggle and Mullumbimby just didn't have enough numbers this season.
"The Giants are going to work hard this year and concentrate on rebuilding for next season."
It will be a 10-team competition this season with Lower Clarence Under-18s slotting in to play before Tweed Coast, which is not fielding a team in that age division.
Mullumbimby last won a first grade premiership in 2007 but has been struggling for a number of seasons since.
They last tasted success in the lower grades when they won Under-18 and reserve grade premierships in 2012.
A number of Mullumbimby juniors have also played National Rugby League in recent years including Dane Chisholm, Jy Hitchcox, Jacob Miller and Cody Nelson.
Both clubs have indicated to NRRRL management they will be back next season.
"We'll still have a strong competition this year and a new 18-round draw will be finalised soon," Booth said.
"The competition will go for an extra week and we'll now play on the representative weekend in June."