Scott Sattler playing with the Tweed Koalas.
Scott Sattler playing with the Tweed Koalas. Crystal Spencer

Challenge concept

NORTHERN Rivers representative rugby league coach Scott Sattler is the brains behind an idea he wants to call the Cross Border Challenge.

The annual match would see the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League premiers play the winner of the Gold Coast Bycroft Cup competition a fortnight after the respective grand finals.

It would be similar to what the National Rugby League and English Super League have been doing with the World Club Challenge match played every February.

He would like to see the NRL get behind the idea with someone like Bill Harrigan coming up to referee the game.

Sattler, a premiership-winning Penrith Panthers player from 2003, lives at Pottsville and coaches Byron Bay in the NRRRL.

He got the idea after watching the 2012 NRRRL and Bycroft Cup grand finals which were both decided by a point.

Murwillumbah beat Grafton Ghosts 27-26 in the NRRRL and Burleigh Bears won 13-12 against Tugun in golden point extra-time.

"I saw the Murwillumbah and Grafton grand final and I thought it was one of the best games I'd seen anywhere in a long time," Sattler said.

"And after seeing the Gold Coast grand final, I couldn't pick a winner (between Murwillumbah and Burleigh Bears)."

"I'd like to see it happen this year and about two weeks after the grand finals.

"It would be good to get in early and give the clubs plenty of notice."

Sattler has pitched the idea to NRRRL president Brian Rix, who would like to see prize money and the Titans involved.

"There will be a few loose ends to take care of before anything becomes official," Rix said.

"The timing of it, the venue, who's running it and who gets what out of it, will need to be sorted. I think there would need to be some prize money to give the clubs incentive to play."

Sattler believes the selling point is being able to promote it as a NSW and Queensland rivalry.

"It's a genuine NSW versus Queensland match and that's the great thing about it," he said.

"It would be great to get the clubs applying to tender for it and hopefully we could play it somewhere on the Northern Rivers."

Sattler also weighed in on the shoulder charge debate and said it would be missed in the NRRRL this season after Country Rugby League banned it last week.

The shoulder charge was banned from the NRL last November.

"Without sounding like an old dinosaur, I think there was still a place in the game for it," he said.

"We have the right systems in place to penalise players when it goes wrong."

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