Rebels? future in doubt

By TONY WHITE of the Grafton Daily Examiner

THE future of the South Grafton Rebels Rugby League Football Club remains in limbo after an acrimonious annual general meeting at the Grafton District Services Club on Wednesday night.

Fewer than 20 people attended, with club president Allan Rudduck describing the small turnout as 'very disappointing'.

In many ways the meeting was a shambles with in-fighting, resignations and dissension dominating.

Numerous questions regarding the club's contentious financial position were unable to be answered due to unavailability of full financial statements.

As a consequence, no treasurer's report was tabled.

Club accountant/auditor David Robards, however, warned potential new committee members of serious concerns in several areas.

"I'd be very careful if signing on with the committee what your commitments are with this club," he said.

"Signing yourself up, in dollar terms now, is fraught with chaos."

Robards said yesterday that the Rebels' financial and management problems were relatively common in amateur sporting clubs. He said GST requirements were also a concern.

The new committee from last year had agreed to honour previous obligations from the previous committee's 'results of a trading deficiency'.

Robards claimed the club had not been well managed this year.

He said the same problems of lack of co-ordination, a dysfunctional committee and conflict within the club that blighted previous administrations were evident again.

"Those matters need to be resolved," he said. "The committee needs to develop management techniques and address administrative requirements or the club's future is certainly in jeopardy."

Four members of the committee ? secretary Janita Cooper, senior vice-president Robin Smith, treasurer Maree O'Malley-Smith and committee person Tanya Fallon ? said they would not seek re-election.

Cooper said she had been 'disappointed decisions made had not been discussed at committee level' and suggested 'it was time for the club to look at the big picture and consider amalgamation'.

An emotional Robin Smith told the meeting: "I'm out of the club. As far as I'm concerned I'm bashing my head against a brick wall. This committee does not work together. I've busted my guts for this club. If you're going to stick your head out, make sure it's not going to get chopped off."

Rudduck was the only person elected to a new committee as president.

Due to the lack of numbers and the refusal of several people to accept positions on the committee, a motion was moved to defer election of office bearers until a second AGM, when financial details will be available, scheduled for November 16.

Inherited debt

Rudduck said yesterday that he remained confident the club would trade its way out of trouble.

He admitted there had been 'problems' with the committee this year, adding: "You get some people on committees not used to handling money and that causes conflict."

Rudduck also claimed the club inherited a debt of about $60,000 from the previous administration.

"I'm confident all the committee positions will be filled," Rudduck said. "But yes, at the moment the club is still in limbo, everything is in abeyance."

"I believe the club will survive next year. Sure, it will be tight, but we should be able to do it."

He revealed the club's three largest debtors were the Clarence Valley Council, the Country Rugby League and players.

Rudduck, who claimed at the AGM players often acted like 'prima donnas,' confirmed Ray Mercy would be first grade captain-coach next season.

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