Now it?s time for real action
By ADRIAN MILLER
IT'S BEEN a busy off-season for the Retravision Northern League, thanks mainly to the upstarts from the Cudgen Hornets, but now that the season is about to start, the players can get back to doing what they do best ? running headlong into each without any thought for their own personal safety.
Cudgen fought all summer long to leave the Northern League and join the Gold Coast competition, a move which was viewed with both disinterest and disdain from local league lovers.
Some thought good riddance to the Hornets but others, most notably League chairman Robin Harley, fought against the move the entire way.
Eventually Cudgen coach Jamie Mathiou and a host of players left the club to form another team, the Gold Coast Cudgen Hornets, which means there will be one Cudgen Hornets side playing on the Northern Rivers and another on the Gold Coast.
It wasn't the only club drama during the summer, with Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels holding merger talks after South Grafton failed to field a first-grade last year and the Ghosts finished bottom.
But in a decision which dumfounded everybody except a few Ghosts board members, the talks failed and the clubs will go it alone for another season at least.
However, it wasn't all doom and gloom for the local competition, with a naming rights sponsor signing up for the next two seasons.
The Retravision dealers of the Northern Rivers put pen to paper in a deal worth more than $20,000 and for the next two years, at least, the competition will be known as the Retravision Northern League.
Fisher and Paykel also came to the party, sponsoring the Player of the Year award.
While Cudgen has been trying to run and Grafton implode, things locally have been fairly stable.
Lismore Marist Brothers have appointed David Krause as head coach this year, Byron Bay have former Red Devils premiership player Vince Nicklin at the helm, while Mullumbimby will run with Damon Scott after sacking Tony Mitchell a few weeks ago.
Chris Binge at Ballina, Cavill Heugh at Casino and Wayne Lollback at Kyogle have all been reappointed for 2007.
There is plenty of optimism around for local clubs and there is every reason one could be holding the Northern League premiership trophy aloft come September.
Competition draws: 15/4/07 Round 1: Cudgen v Murwillumbah, South Tweed v Grafton Ghosts, Ballina v Marist Brothers, Kyogle v Tweed Coast, Casino RSM v Mullumbimby, South Grafton v Lower Clarence, Byron Bay bye.
22/4/07 Round 2: Murwillumbah v Byron Bay, Grafton Ghosts v Cudgen, Marist Brothers v South Tweed, Tweed Coast v Ballina, Mullumbimby v Kyogle, Lower Clarence v Casino RSM, South Grafton bye.
28/4/07 Competition bye.
6/5/07 Round 4: Byron Bay v Grafton Ghosts, Cudgen v Marist Brothers, South Tweed v Tweed Coast, Ballina v Mullumbimby, Kyogle v Lower Clarence, South Grafton v Casino RSM, Murwillumbah bye.
13/5/07 Round 5: Marist Brothers v Byron Bay, Tweed Coast v Cudgen, Mullumbimby v South Tweed, Lower Clarence v Ballina, Kyogle v South Grafton, Grafton Ghosts v Murwillumbah, Casino RSM bye.
20/5/07 Round 6: Byron Bay v Tweed Coast, Cudgen v Mullumbimby, South Tweed v Lower Clarence, Ballina v South Grafton, Casino RSM v Kyogle, Murwillumbah v Marist Brothers, Grafton Ghosts bye.
27/5/07 Round 7: Mullumbimby v Byron Bay, Lower Clarence v Cudgen, South Grafton v South Tweed, Casino RSM v Ballina, Tweed Coast v Murwillumbah, Marist Brothers v Grafton Ghosts, Kyogle bye.
3/6/07 Round 8: Byron Bay v Lower Clarence, Cudgen v South Grafton, South Tweed v Casino RSM, Ballina v Kyogle, Murwillumbah v Mullumbimby, Grafton Ghosts v Tweed Coast, Marist Brothers bye.
17/6/07 Round 9: South Grafton v Byron Bay, Casino RSM v Cudgen, Kyogle v South Tweed, Lower Clarence v Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby v Grafton Ghosts, Tweed Coast v Marist Brothers, Ballina bye.
24/6/07 Round 10: Byron Bay v Casino RSM, Cudgen v Kyogle, South Tweed v Ballina, Murwillumbah v South Grafton, Grafton Ghosts v Lower Clarence, Marist Brothers v Mullumbimby, Tweed Coast bye.
1/7/07 Round 11: Kyogle v Byron Bay, Ballina v Cudgen, Casino RSM v Murwillumbah, South Grafton v Grafton Ghosts, Lower Clarence v Marist Brothers, Mullumbimby v Tweed Coast, South Tweed bye.
8/7/07 Round 12: Byron Bay v Ballina, Cudgen v South Tweed, Murwillumbah v Kyogle, Grafton Ghosts v Casino RSM, Marist Brothers v South Grafton, Tweed Coast v Lower Clarence, Mullumbimby bye.
15/7/07 Round 13: South Tweed v Byron Bay, Ballina v Murwillumbah, Kyogle v Grafton Ghosts, Casino RSM v Marist Brothers, South Grafton v Tweed Coast, Lower Clarence v Mullumbimby, Cudgen bye.
22/7/07 Round 14: Byron Bay v Cudgen, Murwillumbah v South Tweed, Ballina v Grafton Ghosts, Marist Brothers v Kyogle, Tweed Coast v Casino RSM, Mullumbimby v South Grafton, Lower Clarence bye.
29/7/07 Round 15: Murwillumbah v Cudgen, Grafton Ghosts v South Tweed, Marist Brothers v Ballina, Tweed Coast v Kyogle, Mullumbimby v Casino RSM, Lower Clarence v South Grafton, Byron Bay bye.
5/8/07 Round 16: Ballina v Lower Clarence, Casino RSM v Byron Bay, Cudgen v Grafton Ghosts, South Grafton v Mullumbimby, South Tweed v Marist Brothers, Kyogle v Murwillumbah, Tweed Coast bye.
12/8/07 Round 17: Tweed Coast v South Tweed, Marist Brothers v Cudgen, Lower Clarence v Kyogle, Casino RSM v South Grafton, Mullumbimby v Ballina, Grafton Ghosts v Byron Bay, Murwillumbah bye.
19/8/07 Round 18: Ballina v Casino RSM, Byron Bay v Mullumbimby, Grafton Ghosts v Marist Brothers, Murwillumbah v Tweed Coast, South Tweed v South Grafton, Cudgen v Lower Clarence, Kyogle bye.
26/08/07 Round 3: Marist Brothers v Murwillumbah, Tweed Coast v Byron Bay, Lower Clarence v South Tweed, South Grafton v Ballina, Mullumbimby v Cudgen, Kyogle v Casino RSM, Grafton Ghosts bye.