Magpies support Rhinos inclusion
By JENNIFER HUXLEY
THE Lower Clarence Magpies have vowed to support Country Rugby League's (CRL) push for the Grafton Rhinos to be the town's sole rugby league club for the 2008 season.
In a letter to Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) secretary Doug Harrison, CRL general manager Terry Quinn outlined the body's stance.
"Country Rugby League strongly recommends that your group look at the possibility of playing one senior club out of the town of Grafton," he wrote.
"CRL also recommend that ... consideration be given to the new Rhinos club, as CRL believe that a complete new body will unite the town and bring back the strength of rugby league.
"Another motive for the CRL to recommend the new Rhinos is the fact that both junior clubs, South Grafton and Grafton, can feed into the Rhinos to ensure they are a force in coming years."
NRRRL president Robin Harley said the group held the view that 'one club in Grafton would be more beneficial than two'.
He was, however, reluctant to specify a preferred club. "I do know that all the clubs in the group are looking seriously at one club for Grafton," he said.
"The competition traditionally associated with the town has not been there over the past years."
Harley said that 'all would be revealed' when the group's member clubs voted on the issue at the NRRRL AGM on November 14.
United vote Yesterday, The Daily Examiner contacted the 12 clubs outside Grafton to gauge their voting intentions.
Of the three that responded, the Lower Clarence Magpies backed the CRL position, while two indicated they wanted one club from the town, but did not nominate a preference. Magpies president Garry Anderson issued a statement yesterday.
"The Lower Clarence Magpies will be supporting the official recommendation from CRL that there be one club operating out of the Grafton area, and the recommendation is that club be the Rhinos," the statement read.
Speaking on behalf of the Grafton Ghosts, president Michael Rogan dismissed Quinn's letter as 'just an opinion'.
He said the CRL's stance would have little influence on the outcome of the vote at the NRRRL AGM.
"There should be one club for Grafton, and that club should be the Grafton Ghosts," Mr Rogan said.
"The CRL is entitled to an opinion, but it does not make the final decision."
Grafton Rhinos president Danny Scott said his club welcomed the CRL's support, and was looking forward to a resurgence in the strength of rugby league in Grafton.
It is also rumoured that the AGM will also vote on the inclusion of Northern United in the 2008 competition. The club's nomination was rejected last year.