NRRRL vows to support struggling Magpies
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Northern Rivers Rugby League committee has indicated it will endeavour to support a struggling Lower Clarence Magpies to ensure they take the field this season.
But outside of advertising for talent to join the Lower River club the group's hands are tied on the issue.
"Having a club not playing football is definitely something we do not want to see in the NRRRL," president Brian Rix said.
"We are doing everything in our power to make sure it doesn't happen, well at least everything we can do.
"We can only encourage through our own organisation, that is, for ourselves to do some sort of a recruitment drive."
The Lower Clarence club is not the only NRRRL club struggling to field sides in the approved grades this season with Mullumbimby confirmed to only be registering a reserve grade and under 18s team.
Rix believed money was a major root to the problems faced by both clubs with players "understandably" chasing the highest dollar for their services.
"It has become more prevalent in the last five or six years where life has become harder for young blokes and if they get a bit of extra money out of playing on Sundays, then that is what they chase," Rix said.
"You will always find the clubs that have had good administration over a number of years will have the finances to chase those players, and get them over other clubs.
"But it changes, it goes around in a circle. If we talked about four years ago Ballina could not make the final five side and now they have won three years in a row."
Country rugby league competitions have become rather lopsided in terms of player talent at clubs and the NRRRL is not immune to the issue.
Rix admitted the idea of a salary cap similar to the National Rugby League competition had been discussed among the NRRRL management ranks.
"(A salary cap) has been spoken about, maybe not actually a salary cap but a cap on what a run of the mill player can be paid by each club," Rix said.
"So it is not a case of a certain player is getting offered $100 by this club, $200 by that club or $400 by someone else.
"But at the end of the day that is not the way we would like to go in country football. We would rather see clubs build their finances, build their club and then build a good culture in the club."
With the NRRRL season only a week from starting, the committee will be trying to reach an early decision on the matter.
A group committee meeting is scheduled for Monday as a final discussion but it is understood the group is expecting a response from Lower Clarence today.
"It is not a good way to start our season," Rix said.
"We would have hoped we could have all clubs comfortable with their numbers well before where we are at.
"Our understanding was that Lower had enough players, actually they do have enough registered first grade players they just need to get them to show up and commit to the club.
"It is a whole-hearted effort from everyone."