Whistle blown on row over league trial money

By BREE PRICE

A FINANCIAL dispute has emerged between the promoter of the Parramatta v Cronulla NRL trial match held in Lismore in February and the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.

The dispute is apparently over money owed to the NRRRL, who hired Gold Coast-based Darren Williams to promote the February 5 game at Oakes Oval.

He was also contracted to organise catering and match entertainment.

Solicitors have been called into resolve the matter.

Deputy mayor John Chant revealed the dispute during Tuesday night's Lismore City Council meeting.

NRRRL president Robin Harley would not comment on the reason behind the dispute, but said the matter was being resolved.

"At this stage we are in the process of resolving a couple of outstanding issues," he said.

"We expect it to be resolved amicably.

"The clubs are fully aware of everything that's happening."

NRRRL secretary Doug Harrison also would not be drawn on the reason behind the dispute.

But in reference to Mr Williams's handling of the event, he said: "We weren't happy with the way he did things."

When contacted by The Northern Star yesterday Mr Williams declined to comment on the dispute for legal reasons.

"It's being tidied up. I don't want to discuss it at this stage," he said.

"It's an in-house thing, a post-match debrief like after any promotion where we sit back and say 'well, we can do this better'."

Mr Harley said he wanted to clarify that any catering problems experienced during the match were not the sole responsibility of Mr Williams.

Ice supplies that were brought in from the Gold Coast ran out early in the afternoon and the ticketing system for purchasing drinks and food had problems and was later abandoned.

"The whole thing was done in conjunction with the NRRRL's general committee," Mr Harley said.

"The way we decided to deliver catering and beer (with a ticketing system) didn't work. It was too slow.

"He (Mr Williams) didn't have full responsibility."



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