A file picture of Jeremy Torrens in action for Casino against Lower Clarence at Queen Elizabeth Park. Juniors in the town will have to decide between two clubs if the Casino Cowboys win their fight for admission into Group One Junior Rugby League.
A file picture of Jeremy Torrens in action for Casino against Lower Clarence at Queen Elizabeth Park. Juniors in the town will have to decide between two clubs if the Casino Cowboys win their fight for admission into Group One Junior Rugby League.

League of their own?

THE threat of legal action, Sydney media coverage and the backing of a national supporters' organisation has taken the push for a second junior rugby league club at Casino to another level.

"We're not giving up on this," Casino and Districts JRLFC president Greg Brown said yesterday.

"We have the backing of many people in town and it wouldn't be right for them or the children if we just gave up and let this go away."

The Casino RSM JRLFC - the Cougars - has fielded teams since junior league began on the Northern Rivers 40 years ago but Brown claims that lack of financial and organisational support in recent years led to the establishment of the rival club he now heads.

The Cougars have always disputed the claims and have since opted for amalgamation with the senior football club.

An application by the new Cowboys junior club to field teams next season was thwarted before the Group One Juniors annual general meeting last month by the intervention of the Country Rugby League.

But if the controlling authorities thought that was the end of the matter, they were wrong.

The new club did not receive a hearing at the AGM, which it says it was entitled to under the Group One Juniors constitution.

Club officials said they met the criteria given for an application to be considered - and sources have told The Northern Star that the application was compelling.

The Cowboys claim to have 160 juniors ready to sign on, enough for a team in every age division from Under-7s through to Under-16s.

Legal action remains an option.

Lismore solicitor Matthew Riley has written to the CRL on behalf of the club seeking answers about its exclusion.

There has been no reply.

A prominent article in the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper gave the issue wide coverage.

CRL chief executive Terry Quinn was quoted as saying that having two junior clubs in Casino was unsustainable because there were not enough kids playing the game.

In a letter to NRL chief executive David Gallop, Peter Warren from the Rugby League Supporters and Voluntary Workers' Association emphasises that the Casino Cowboys followed the correct procedures to be given a hearing.

The criteria included incorporation, a financial plan, club sponsors and names of qualified coaches, referees and first-aid officers or letters of intent to attend training courses to attain qualification.

"I know this is a CRL matter but after completing the criteria given to it by Group One (Juniors) it has had no luck with the governing body," Warren said in the letter.

"The application didn't make the agenda for the AGM as the CRL stepped in and refused the proposal without it going to a vote."

The letter asks David Gallop whether the new independent commission could speak to the CRL and urge it to review its decision and reconsider the application.

Group One Junior Rugby League president Rick Lennon yesterday declined to comment.



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