NRRRL rejects the Devils? advocate
By ADRIAN MILLER
DOUG Harrison believes the right decision has been made; Scott Hogan agrees.
Dave Garced, however, isn't happy. And neither is the rest of the Byron Bay Rugby League Club.
On Wednesday night the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League management committee resolved that Byron Bay had forfeited its games last weekend against the Mullumbimby Giants in all three grades ? handing two competition points to Mullum.
But they weren't finished there.
The Red Devils were also fined $2000 by the committee for failing to follow a league directive and play the Giants last Saturday night.
Garced, the Byron Bay secretary, said the club was extremely disappointed with the outcome.
"Obviously we're not happy with the decision because we believe justice wasn't done," he said.
"We're very disappointed because we feel we have abided by all the criteria and we're the ones who come out as the rogue club when, in our opinion, that's the exact opposite of the situation."
Hogan, the Mullumbimby president, said his club believed Byron Bay should have been punished further.
"I think the fine should have been bigger but overall we're happy with the result although it's still a loss to us financially," he said.
"We were hoping they would change the Round 18 game (where Mullum play Byron Bay at Byron Bay) to our home game because it's going to be a big game with plenty of people going to watch, but I suppose they were never going to do that."
The controversy came about after Byron Bay refused to play their Round 6 Retravision Northern League clash with Mullum on Saturday night.
The Giants play all their home games on Saturday nights ? because of the financial benefits to the club ? and the evening was designated as the club's sponsors' day.
They requested the Saturday night game at the start of the year and believed they had approval.
But Garced said Byron Bay never agreed to play the game on Saturday and had given Mullum plenty of notice they could only play on Sunday.
"The original reason we were ordered to play Saturday night was because the Group said Mullumbimby wasn't given sufficient time to change the day," he said.
"But we notified Mullum in a telephone conversation at the end of April, which was 28 days from the designated day, that we weren't able to play on the Saturday night.
"Then we received a phone call from the Group secretary 13 days out from game day wanting us to put something in writing because Mullumbimby had lodged a letter complaining, so they had time to change it.
"We were shocked at the outcome because at no time did we agree to play Mullum on Saturday and we've been put in the position of being the rogue club when all we did was abide by the draw."
But the saga may not yet be over, with Garced saying Byron Bay were a '99 per cent' chance to appeal the decision to the Country Rugby League.
Harrison, the NRRRL secretary, said the league would take steps to ensure the situation didn't arise again.
"(From now on) we will ensure everything is in writing and not like the gentlemen's agreements (at the moment) because this is what caused the breakdown (in communication)," he said.