Kyle Kennedy, Joe Besgrove, Michael Dwane and Sam Grant were part of the winning Northern Rivers team in the NSW Country Rugby League Championships last year.
Kyle Kennedy, Joe Besgrove, Michael Dwane and Sam Grant were part of the winning Northern Rivers team in the NSW Country Rugby League Championships last year. Contributed

Northern Rivers set to defend CRL title at Lismore

NORTHERN Rivers will start its NSW Country Rugby League title defence when it hosts Central Coast at Crozier Field, Lismore, on March 9.

CRL has brought its representative season forward this year with Lismore to host the women's game along with under-16 and under-18s in a big day of rugby league.

The Northern Rivers men's side beat Monaro in the final at Camden in May, with six players going on to make the NSW Country team.

There are positions up for grabs this year with some of the senior players now ineligible in the U23 format.

Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League is also hoping to secure a major sponsor for the men and women's team.

"It's hard to pick a side at this time of year but we still have about nine players left so that's a good start,” Northern Rivers men's coach Max Beecher said.

"We'll have to rely on that knowledge and hope that others who are interested will come down to training.

"The group (NRRRL) are good at covering our expenses but the cost still adds up once we get going.

"We want to look after the players and make playing rep footy worthwhile for them.

"I think women's rugby league is about to take off so it's a good time for a sponsor to come on board for both teams.”

The men's team will start training at Kingsford Smith Park in Ballina on February 6 and will train every Saturday and Wednesday there after until the Lismore game.

Northern Rivers will play again the following week at Armidale with the final set down for April 6.

"It's probably a bit fairer in that way, where everyone will play at least two games,” Beecher said.

"Some years we've drawn a tough Newcastle team first up in the knockout format and still could have made the finals from having won the second game.”

Interested players and sponsors should contact NRRRL secretary Tanya Booth on 0410691340.



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