League team boost

CHANGES to country rugby league are set to benefit the Northern Rivers representative side which would compete as a stand-alone region.

The changes mean that teams in the eight representative regions across NSW were allowed to play as regions or in groups.

NRRRL chairman Robin Harley said the changes would have no real effect on the competition.

“The new format suits us,” he said. “Last season we were in Group 19 with the Southern Tablelands which was a logistical nightmare so we’re happy to be playing as a region.”

The Northern Rivers will now be part of the top tier of the competition, which was determined by a nomination process.

“We were happy to nominate for the top tier,” Harley said.

Harley said the changes were made after consultation with all involved in the competition.

“The changes were brought about with the contribution of all the groups and regions, everyone had a say,” he said.

New policies also mean that stronger players are more likely to be in the representative sides, with Harley anticipating all clubs will adopt an ‘if you’re picked you play’ standpoint.

“The clubs don’t always want to put forward the strong players, and last year we had a few problems with people who were selected but didn’t want to play,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Country Rugby League academy staff put the new 2009-10 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League academy recruits through an arduous program last weekend.

The players were receptive and, although extremely tired at the finish, all gave a huge effort.

The weekend included lectures on nutrition, drugs and alcohol, weights and conditioning, injury prevention and management.

Sessions were also conducted on attack, defence, sprinting and a practical weights and core strength session. The coaching staff included Warwick Brown, Simon Carruth, Shaun Davison, Mark Doolan, Mark Garner, Mark Harrison, Dave Krause, Kel Menchin and Paul Sales.

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