Clubs fight to survive in NRRRL
KYOGLE president Simon Tough knows how hard it is for clubs to keep operating in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
The NRRRL has dropped back to 10 teams after Mullumbimby and Lower Clarence both pulled out of the competition this week.
"It is hard for the smaller clubs and it all comes back to money," Tough said.
"We lose a lot of players due to money.
"We pay our players as much as we can but we just can't compete with some of the bigger clubs.
"Some teams can afford to lose a couple of players at the end of the season but we really struggle when we do.
"There are guys in the competition that could be playing for us that have gone elsewhere.
"All three of our grades made finals in 2014 but it still might be a few years before we get back to that."
"We're lucky that we have a good group of local sponsors who keep us going."
Kyogle has a decent crop of juniors coming through and have won back-to-back premierships in Under-18s.
Lower Clarence still has Under-18s and will play before Tweed Coast, which is not fielding a team in that age division this season.
The biggest issue for Mullumbimby is the club felt it did not have the numbers or quality of players to be competitive in first grade this year.
The Giants were denied a request to just field the one team in reserve grade at a special meeting on Monday night.
Both clubs have indicated to NRRRL management that they will be back next season.
Meanwhile, Kyogle has had its own struggles in the top grade with a mountain of injuries in recent years and finished below the Giants in first grade last season.
"It is sad to see what has happened (with Lower Clarence and Mullumbimby) we have a great relationship with both clubs," Tough said.
"The smaller clubs tend to stick together and help each other out as much as we can.
"Our club makes a big effort to get the families and community involved.
"We had about 60 blokes at training last Thursday and we're ready to play."