Cross-border tug-of-war over koalas
THE South Tweed saga intensified further yesterday with the Country Rugby League officially challenging the club's move to leave the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
CRL chief executive officer Terry Quinn confirmed he had referred the matter to the Australian Rugby League.
“The CRL will not support the move of South Tweed to the Gold Coast competition,” he said.
“It will have to go to the ARL for their adjudication.
“My executives are adamant that we challenge it.
“We believe there is a better competition on offer for them (here) now.”
But Queensland Rugby League South-East chairman Peter Betros said it was purely about South Tweed remaining financially viable.
“If you asked anyone attached to the club, their only hope of surviving is on the Gold Coast,” Betros said.
“One more year of playing in the NRRRL and they'll be broke and no longer exist.”
Quinn said next season's split draw, as voted in by the NRRRL this week, negated South Tweed's need to move.
“With the new revised pool competition (the split draw), it allays all the fears they have with travel, sponsorship and player retention,” Quinn said.
“Under the new draw, they'd only travel to Grafton once and Maclean once and the rest are no further than to Ballina.
“The majority of their trips are less than 30 minutes.
“We believe there is a better competition on offer for them now.
“It's stronger (than the Gold Coast) for the players, with less travel.”
South Tweed president John Morris did not want to comment.
But Betros said the split draw did not solve the club's financial woes.
“I'm sure they'd like to stay if it was viable but it's not viable any more,” he said.
“They were on the verge of bankruptcy. They had a full meeting and all their people agreed to come and join the Gold Coast.
“They have a proud history and that club needs every bit of help to survive.
“There is every chance they will fail economically if they don't make the move.
“Their future is on the Gold Coast and nowhere else.”
Adding more fuel to the stoush are claims the club did not follow the right paper trail.
“I wrote a letter to all bodies concerned ... and cited that protocols were not followed properly,” Quinn said.
“The Gold Coast (competition administrators) wrote them a letter prior to any approvals, saying they'd been accepted.”
However, Betros said neither the CRL nor the NRRRL had any jurisdiction over South Tweed.
“They don't have to receive permission from the NRRRL because they're not an affiliated club ... their commitment finished at the end of the season,” Betros said.
Quinn denies that.
“That's not true, they're still part of us,” he said.
“I asked them to attend the meeting (Wednesday) and lay their cards on the table but they opted not to go.”
Betros said it was because they had already left.
“South Tweed have affiliated with the Gold Coast,” he said.
“They'll be playing in the Gold Coast competition next year.
“They applied to join it under the guidelines issued 18 months ago by the ARL.
“South Tweed have met all of their obligations and that's why they've been granted permission to join.”
Quinn has requested the ARL call a meeting with all parties concerned to sort it out as soon as possible.
“You can't keep everyone hanging on ... and we'll abide by the decision of the ARL,” he said.
“The CRL will not support the move of South Tweed to the Gold Coast competition.”
“They'll be playing in the Gold Coast rugby league competition next year.”