Northern United fights on as Rebels seek decision
By ADAM HICKS
NORTHERN United are not giving up their fight to become the second Lismore-based club in the Northern League.
Club chief executive officer Ian Watson insists the fight is still only in round one as club officials prepare to take matter to their lawyers.
Northern United club officials met earlier this week to discuss their options after a bid to join the competition was rejected at the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League's annual general meeting last week because of fears of a player drain from other clubs.
"We're not rolling over. Why should we?" Watson said. "We will meet next Wednesday night with legal representatives.
"There are heaps of options that were put on the table.
"I'm going to ask the league that we approach the clubs to ask each individual player if they want to play for us, if they don't we won't touch them."
However Watson said he could not reveal the legal argument the club would use.
"There is a chance we can get in, but if I tell you now, I'll be showing my hand," he said.
"We're not going to give this up, not if you know you're right.
"Let the players have the right to choose what club they want to play for. All we ask is let the boys have the choice."
Watson said the club secured a major international sponsor yesterday for two Sevens tournaments to be hosted by the club. The deal could provide up to $18,000 in prizemoney.
"We'll have our club going," he said.
He also said the club had six 'gold star' sponsors willing to come on board if Northern United get in the competition.
"Every other club should be on notice now," he said.
"They've been complacent for the last 25 years and let rugby union take over.
"If you go out to a game there might be a couple of hundred spectators there they've got to put bums on seats.
"Northern United will achieve that. We've got corporate people behind us."
Meanwhile, the South Grafton Rebels remain in purgatory as they prepare for the Country Rugby League NSW (CRL NSW) appeal on Tuesday that will make or break the 93-year-old club.
The Rebels nomination to be included in the 2008 Northern League competition was knocked back at the group AGM last week, the member clubs selecting the Grafton Ghosts as the single team to represent Grafton.
Unwilling to give up, the Rebels lodged an appeal to CRL NSW to be reinstated into the competition.
CRL NSW chairman Warren Kimberley is expected to head the board that will investigate the Rebels claims.
After he penned a letter to the Northern League executive backing the Grafton Rhinos as the single senior club for the town, CRL NSW general manager Terry Quinn has been excluded from the board to avoid accusations of bias.
Quinn said the board would independently examine evidence and speak to witnesses before they determined the validity of the Rebels appeal.