NRRRL 2009 draw has emphasis on local clashes

THE Australian Rugby League (ARL) has endorsed the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League’s (NRRRL) splitting into north-south conferences from 2010, but in the meantime clubs will play a paler version of the competition next season with a greater emphasis on ‘local derbies’.

Although the competition will remain one conference in 2009, NRRRL President Robin Harley described it as ‘marrying’ of the two formats.

“It’s recognising the local derbies are particularly important and ensuring these are in place for next season and we are just working out the finals stages of the home and away games,” he said.

“At the moment we have got some teams playing three away games in a row, or three home games in a row, and we just want to have more consistency there, so they are alternating between home and away games.”

Harley is hoping to have the revised draw finalised before Christmas, which, given the antics of the South Tweed Koalas post-season, is not a bad result, according to Harley.

 “We’ve had to put up with a lot in the last couple of years in regards to South Tweed and Cudgen and haven’t been able to finalise our draws until January or February,” he said

“This year we are hoping to have it out before Christmas and sort out any remaining problems.”

Meanwhile, the ARL has endorsed splitting the league into two conferences from 2010, when South Tweed and Bilamibil would be invited to join the revised competition.

South Tweed cited increased travel costs as one of the main reasons for the club dropping out of the NRRRL and joining the Gold Coast competition.

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