Murwillumbah Mustangs second rower Jone Macalai celebrates winning the NRRRL grand final last year. The season starts next month.
Murwillumbah Mustangs second rower Jone Macalai celebrates winning the NRRRL grand final last year. The season starts next month. SCOTT POWICK

NRRRL settles on draw for new season

A SECOND and final draw has been finalised with the 2017 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season set to kick off on April 1.

>> View the full 2017 NRRRL draw here

NRRRL president Robin Harley said the draw has been finalised after consideration on what was best for the entire competition.

"Some clubs don't understand that if you change something to suit them it affects someone else and so on," Harley said.

"It can become a real issue and the draw has been done as good as we could get it.

"We've done it twice now and only one club has said they have a problem with it."

There will be 11 teams in the competition this year with Lower Clarence and Mullumbimby back in the fold after sitting out last season due to lack of players.

Northern United has been stood down with financial issues and ongoing debt meaning they won't be back until at least 2018.

Tweed Coast is also back for a second year after they returned to the NRRRL from playing on the Gold Coast.

Lower Clarence will have its first game at home against what should be an improved Byron Bay outfit.

Mullumbimby plays Ballina away from home and will have to wait until after Easter for its first game back at Les Donnelly Field against defending premiers Murwillumbah on April 23.

It will be the first time in recent seasons that there has been an odd number of teams in first grade.

"The smarter clubs have already looked ahead and planned fund-raisers and other activities for the bye weekends," Harley said.

"We're excited about some of the young referees who are coming through and it will be a juggling act to be able to get some Saturday games in."

The grand final rematch between Cudgen and Murwillumbah will played at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff on May 7.



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