The Grafton derby is off.
The Grafton derby is off.

Charity Shield final draw changed

NORTHERN Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) officials were left red-faced yesterday after the draw for the Charity Shield final was changed.

The Examiner was notified on Sunday night that the final would be played between the Grafton Ghosts and the Grafton Rhinos with the Ghosts hosting the game.

The understanding was the two teams with the highest aggregate from both the Southern and Northern Divisions of the competition would play the final.

The Ghosts (+80) and the Rhinos (+48) were the two top teams with Ballina (+46) and Murwillumbah (+22) playing off for third and fourth place.

This left a mouth-watering contest for this weekend when the two fierce rivals met in the first derby of the new campaign.

But in an embarrassing backflip, Group president Robin Harley said there had been a misunderstanding and the first placed team in the Southern Division would play the first placed team in the Northern Division.

Harley contacted Rhinos president Tony Stackhouse yesterday to hand him the bad news.

“The first thing Robin said was, ‘I’ve got some bad news,’ a disappointed Stackhouse said

“We were certainly under the impression the two top teams overall would fight out the final.

“It’s disappointing for the club but there is nothing we can do about it.”

The Ghosts will now play Ballina in the final with the Rhinos and Murwillumbah fighting it out for third and fourth place.

Ghosts and Rhinos supporters will now have to wait until round three of the competition to see their sides clash for the first time this season.

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