Baa Baas look north

FAR North Coast rugby union will almost certainly have a bye in its three top grades next season with the pending withdrawal of the Coolangatta-Tweed Barbarians.

The border club has applied to be part of Rugby Gold Coast in 2010 with one former official yesterday confirming an ‘overwhelming desire by players’ not to participate in the Far North Coast zone premiership.

The Barbarians have made several applications to be included as an eighth team in the Gold Coast competition and it is understood club representatives put their final case on Monday night.

The Coolangatta-Tweed club has been playing in the Far North Coast premiership for four years, making the grand final two years ago when beaten by Lennox Head.

But last year they had trouble fielding full teams in first and second grade for several away games.

A new committee member of the proposed Murwillumbah Rugby Union village club yesterday said at least four former Barbarian players had approached him about staying on the NSW side of the border.

“It’s obvious all players aren’t in favour of playing on the Gold Coast,” executive officer Geoff Campbell said.

“We are quite willing to accept them at the club if that is their desire. We’d be silly not to.

“We understand more players may even follow them across.”

Far North Coast Rugby administrative officer Wayne Millane yesterday admitted plans were in hand to run byes in first, second and third grades next season with the likelihood of only seven clubs.

“It’s a shame, but I think Rugby Gold Coast would be very unlikely to knock them (the Barbarians) back,” he said.

However, he also confirmed the likelihood of an eight-team Under-19 competition in 2010.

He said the Yamba and Mullumbimby village teams had applied to submit the younger sides, forcing a late application by Lennox Head to ‘wait in the wings’.

“Lennox Head did not have an Under-19 team when applications closed, but they have now had a number of players come forward,” he said.

“But they will only get in if any of the existing eight teams withdraw, and that is a possibility.”

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