Magpies fullback Rob Howard charges it back without fear during the NRRRL first grade between Lower Clarence Magpies and Evans Head Bombers at Yamba League Field. The Magpies have had it tough being the furthest south in the NRRRL.
Magpies fullback Rob Howard charges it back without fear during the NRRRL first grade between Lower Clarence Magpies and Evans Head Bombers at Yamba League Field. The Magpies have had it tough being the furthest south in the NRRRL.

BEHIND THE DESK: Should more leagues play in conferences?

THE year 2020 has been one of reflection, a moment in time allowing those of us lucky enough to step back and take a look at what’s working, and what isn’t.

For sport, this has been a time for change, a time to move forward and figure out the best way to go about competitions, development and everything in between.

It hasn’t been easy, with competitions including Group 2 Rugby League having to take a raincheck, while others such as the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League and the Coastal Premier League have split into two midway through the season.

Looking at the bigger picture this is a backward step forced by restrictions on travel, but when you look a little closer is it really that bad?

We love seeing competitions pitting large numbers of teams from far and wide. But how far is too far?

When looking at the NRRRL, teams can travel more than two hours each way for a game. Coastal Premier League can be up to two and a half hours each way.

Sure some of these players are getting paid, and more importantly, doing it for the love of the game, but a five-hour round trip every second weekend is enough to deter quite a lot of people.

With football, there are more divisions below the top level that require less travel but the NRRRL and Group 2 rugby league have no alternative.

While I do think splitting these competitions into conferences for good would harm the game, I think it could be worth considering for the lower grades to make it more accessible to all.

But for now, this is the reality we are living in and we just have to be thankful we have any sport going on at all.



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