League kids continue to pay some of the lowest fees in town.
League kids continue to pay some of the lowest fees in town.

Show me the money in battle of codes

RUGBY union and league are claiming bragging rights in the back pocket battle of the sporting codes.

Information compiled by the Examiner show the two rugby games are the cheapest to enter for any newcomers.

For just $60 and $65 respectively for a game of union and league, the two prove to be the most popular in terms of saving cash.

Yamba Buccaneers vice-president Dave Mitchell says his club chose to keep registration fees down and juniors coming through the ranks.

For the one-off sign-on costs players get training gear as well as shorts and socks for the 16-week season.

This is in direct contrast to the $150 parents must outlay for a season of soccer.

“It’s a conscious decision from the club to keep costs down,” Mitchell said.

“Every dollar that we raise goes back into the kids.”

Grafton Netball Association president Cathy Walls argues a lack of additional costs such as balls mean her sport can hold its own in the cash clash with rivals.

“Each club puts their own figures on,” she said.

“The fees will go up with administration costs. I think we are one of the cheapest sports around.

“We don’t charge a weekly fee.”

First-timers Grafton Tigers will field Australian football juniors sides after years of only having enough troops to support the senior squads.

But the boom – around 30 youngsters are expected to be on the books come first bounce – can be attributed to the lower costs associated with the sport, according to Tigers president Chris Schaeffer.

“The Tigers over the last few years have been a senior club and we thought it was time to get the juniors up and running,” he said.

“We are hoping to get it really strong in the region.”

Despite his code having a higher price tag, soccer’s Grafton City club has had to put up the house-full sign already with the kick-off still being more than three weeks away.

Paul Langford, a club committee member, says until the 2006 World Cup-related explosion his code remained behind the eight-ball due to a lack of support from above.

Only since the inception of the A-League and the building of the Socceroos’ reputation has the money flowed down to the local level.

“Soccer is staying the same (with numbers) because it doesn’t get promoted like AFL or rugby,” Langford said.

“The other codes get money from the top.

“Up until the last World Cup there wasn’t much money coming into soccer.

“It’s a hard slog first up but it’s not too bad overall.”

According to Langford a fair whack of his club’s income is distributed down the line to the code’s organising body.

But it doesn’t stop the kids from coming back.

“Around 75 per cent of the money goes back to North Coast Football,” he said.

“You always lose kids because they go off to other sports but we generally stay pretty steady.

“I have got four kids who play soccer and they have never really wanted to go elsewhere.

“On the whole scheme of it, it’s pretty cheap for soccer.”

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