By ADAM WRATTEN of Daily News
TWEED'S rugby league top club officials have dismissed claims their clubs are forking out the big dollars some former Group One coaches believe are being paid.
They say players are paid substantially less than the $600 (per win) Ballina coach Chris Binge was quoted as claiming in The Northern Star last Saturday.
(Binge said top players in the southern area of the new Northern Rivers Region attracted $100-$150 per win, while their northern counterparts could be paid as much as $600).
The Tweed-based clubs have refuted the claim they are being subsidised by super-rich leagues clubs.
Murwillumbah and South Tweed don't have leagues clubs. Cudgen is sponsored by the Cudgen Leagues Club, but most of its income is generated through other means.
And Seagulls' budget is in line with the other clubs, although obviously it has a bigger allowance for its Queensland Cup campaign.
The current disparity has more to do with professionalism, junior development and fitness than financial clout, coaches claimed.
Pay packet privacy
Privacy restrictions prevent officials from disclosing what their clubs pay.
Their case has been backed up by the man who helped devise the business plan for the new competition, involving financial analysis of the former Group 18 clubs.
Chris Gallagher said it was a misconception Tweed teams had more financial clout.
"It's not a case of money, it's a matter of organisation," Gallagher said.
"There is a different culture up here, the club's are more professional."
He said there was still plenty of life left in this year's competition, particularly as Tweed teams had to play each other again in the final third of the regular season.
And, once this year's comp wound up the former Group One teams would need to look at how the Tweed clubs prepare, with strong off-season training and professional administrations.
Seagulls president Tom Searle said: "At the end of the day what you do on the field is a reflection of what you put in at training."
Murwillumbah president Nigel Lofts said he believed northern and southern clubs paid similar amounts to players.
"It's like anything; if you play someone who beats you, sooner or later you will lift," Lofts said.
"We played South Grafton on Sunday and they were a good side; it was only probably a bit of fitness that saw us get home."
South Tweed president Bob Loring said his club had worked hard to develop youth to be competitive.
"We do meat tray raffles every Saturday to raise money," Loring said.
"I have heard there are clubs down there (south) on bigger money that what we are."