Angry Tugun gets left out in the cold

By STEVE SPINKS

sport@northernstar.com.au

KYOGLE'S Robin Harley was returned as president, the Tweed Coast Raiders lived to fight another season and Tugun were left pondering their fate after a controversial Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League annual general meeting at the Lismore Workers Club.

Harley, who is bidding to be president of the NSW Country Rugby League, was returned unopposed at the meeting, with Marist Brothers' Barry Harmon and John Borrowdale the vice-presidents.

Garry Williams (treasurer) and Doug Harrison (secretary) were also re-elected, while Bill Carroll, Lindsay Bowne, Tony Durheim, Victor McInnes and Tony Parker complete the management committee.

But it was the decision by the NRRRL committee not to allow the Tugun club to address the meeting that ruffled feathers.

Tugun, which used to be part of the old Gold Coast-Group 18 competition, has spent a year playing in the Brisbane Mixwell Cup and they are desperate to join the NRRRL.

But because the club is based in Queensland, Tugun needs the approval of the QRL to join a competition outside its borders.

The Seahawks have been unable get permission, so they were not allowed to address the NRRRLmeeting.

Tugun club officials have hit out at the process even though, as a courtesy, Harley asked for a show of hands from clubs as to whether they thought the Seahawks should be admitted.

Most were against Tugun's inclusion.

"The ARL (Australian Rugby League) have been quite clear about this (boundaries)," secretary Doug Harrison said.

"We were fair and asked for a show of hands, but Tugun were not cleared by the QRL to talk to us."

A major sticking point with NRRRL clubs and officials seems to be the fact that the QRL could get some control over the NSW-based competition.

The QRL destroyed the Gold Coast-Group 18 competition (originally run by the NSW Country Rugby League) by insisting that Queensland-based clubs play in competitions run by the QRL.

Meanwhile, Tweed Coast Raiders were readmitted to the NRRRL despite a push to have the club ? which has only reserve grade and Under-18 teams ? excluded.

The fact the Raiders are seeking to establish a first-grade side in 2007 saved them from exclusion.

However, many southern clubs were unhappy about the financial liability of hosting Tweed Coast because they don't have first-grade.

There has also been a letter sent to the CRL asking it to dissolve the old Group One and Group 18 organisations.

Officials believe the NRRRL is now the appropriate body to administer the game on the Far North Coast without the division of old Group loyalties.



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