Byron Bay halfback Ben Crawford braces for contact against Ballina in NRRRL.
Byron Bay halfback Ben Crawford braces for contact against Ballina in NRRRL. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

Byron feels the points pinch in NRRRL

BYRON BAY has felt the pinch of the player points system in its late season surge towards the semi-finals in Ladbrokes Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.

The NRRRL introduced a points system this season which acts as a salary cap for teams recruiting players from other clubs and from outside the region.

The Red Devils have been close to the 2000-point limit all season with captain-coach Todd Carney and off-season recruits from Ballina and Marist Brothers chewing up most of it.

Halfback Ben Crawford sat out last week when they had a 51-24 win over Cudgen while Carney missed the 28-2 win over Evans Head the previous week to ease the points burden.

Byron Bay are fifth on the NRRRL ladder and can take a giant step towards finals with a win over Casino at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, Sunday.

"The past few weeks have been frustrating and we've had to work around the points system,” Carney said.

"I understand that it was brought in for a reason but a few clubs are struggling with it. We'll have to use a rotation system for the rest of the season to fit everyone in.

"We had 12 fresh players on Sunday but everyone else had already played. I spoke to the boys before the game and said that realistically we'd only be using 14 players.

"As a club I applaud the effort everyone showed and we've been a happy camp all season.”

There is a silver lining for the Red Devils with their Under-18s fourth on the ladder and a handful of players making their debut off the bench this year.

First grade players will also receive a 25 per cent reduction on points if they play again next season while a discount on one marquee player is also being touted by the NRRRL.

"One of our Under-18s, Jackson Tygh, made his debut last weekend and said it was the best day of his life, so to me that's what rugby league is all about,” Carney said.

"Mitchell Krause does a great job with the Under-18s, we have some talented kids coming through and we hope they can make the step up into first grade over the next few years.

"I'm happy with where we're at but there is still a long way to go.

"We (first grade) have put ourselves in a position now and it's up to us to step up over the next few weeks and go on with it.”

In other games, Northern United takes on Murwillumbah at Crozier Field, Lismore, tomorrow at 2.45pm then Marist Brothers have their home game against Mullumbimby at the same ground Sunday.

Elsewhere, Kyogle travels to take on Cudgen at Ned Byrne Field, Kings- cliff, and Evans Head plays Tweed Coast at Les Burger Field, Cabarita, tomorrow.

LADDER

Ballina 24

Murwillumbah 22

Casino 20

Tweed Coast 18

Byron Bay 17

Cudgen 15

Kyogle 14

Northern United 12

Mullumbimby 10

Marist Brothers 8

Evans Head 4



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