League in luck

By STEVE SPINKS

LISMORE'S Oakes Oval will 'more than likely' be the venue for the 2005 City v Country rugby league representative match.

That is the word from Australian Rugby League chief executive officer Geoff Carr after months of back-flips and indecision.

However, Mr Carr told The Northern Star through a staff member yesterday that the venue for the match would not be confirmed until December 10 at an ARL board meeting.

The continued saga over the decision of where to play the match has stretched over months.

Originally, Group One rugby league officials were assured Lismore was finally going to host the match after being close a number of times in previous years.

However, Lismore seemed to be out of the running after the North Queensland Cowboys won through to the National Rugby League play-offs and the venue for their game was changed from Aussie Stadium in Sydney to Townsville.

The NRL has a contract with Aussie Stadium guaranteeing the facility a certain number of games each year.

In return for releasing the semi-final to Townsville, they were offered the City v Country match.

However, it now seems the Country v City game will clash with Super 12 rugby union matches already scheduled for the stadium.

So it looks like Lismore will get its turn ... again.

"I guess we're a lot more confident this time," Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League and Group One president Robin Harley said.

"We were actually thrown this information a couple of weeks ago about the programming problems with Aussie Stadium.

"We're more confident this time than we have been in the past."

If Oakes Oval is confirmed as the venue, it will be a big couple of months for local league lovers.

A trial between Cronulla and Parramatta has already been confirmed for February.

"Doug (Harrison, the Group One secretary) has worked very hard to keep Lismore in the picture for the City v Country game," Harley said.

"It would be a big program with the Cronulla v Parramatta game on as well."



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