Rugby league boss had a ball
By NERIDA BLOK
DOUG HARRISON didn't have to wait until the end of Friday night's Country v City rugby league match to relax.
Helping to organise the successful National Rugby League event, held at Oakes Oval in Lismore, the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League secretary said he breathed a sigh of relief at 3pm before the match started.
"That was when we knew everything would go well," he said. "Everything was under control. We had been dealing with Sergeant Steve Parry and Inspector David Larkin of Lismore Police ? both a pleasure to work with."
Although disappointed in the 29-22 defeat of Country, Mr Harrison said just having the game played in Lismore was a win for the town.
"It doesn't matter from what sport, if you can bring such an event to a town it gives everybody a bit of the spoils," he said.
"The shops, service stations, restaurants...they all benefit. Rugby league benefits too with players attending schools and coaching clinics."
Mr Harrison said the biggest hiccup was the availability of suitable accommodation.
"Country was booked into the new motel in Lismore which wasn't finished, and there are motels in Lismore which won't take footballers," he said.
"That I'm very sad about. They had to go out of town. That's the part that really surprised me."
Excluding that, Mr Harrison said everything went off well, including the behaviour of the crowd, which tallied in excess of 8500.
He thanked Lismore City Council for its contribution, specifically John Bancroft and Leanne Clark.
"Without the help of LCC we probably could not have held it. They did ev- erything possible to provide one of the best country venues in NSW," he said.
"Both teams even commented they didn't have grounds in Sydney like this."
And he said Steve Campbell and members of Marist Brothers rugby league club put in a champion effort with catering.
Senior Constable Craig Bridge said police made 15 arrests after the game.
"Mostly due to drunken behaviour, offensive language and conduct," he said.
"It was your usual Friday night, but more so because of the football."