Off-field issues may cost FNC side entry into Country Champs

THE Far North Coast Rugby Union team looks set to be pulled from the NSW Country Championships in 2014.

A decision will be made after the annual general meeting on Sunday.

FNC zone president Graham Cook cited off-field issues involving player behaviour at the championships this year and a lack of applications to coach the side as the reasons.

"We'll take it to the clubs and a final decision will be made on Sunday," Cook said.

"The off-field issues we had this year played quite a factor in bringing it under review."

It wouldn't be the first time FNC hasn't sent a team to the Country Championships and the players would be eligible to play for another zone.

Mid North Coast is the closest zone sending a team.

"We're open on the matter and will put it to the clubs to discuss the pros and cons," Cook said.

"There is no point sending a team if we can't perform to the best of our ability."

Will Cotterill was co-coach of the 2013 side when three players went on to play for the NSW Country Cockatoos.

He did not deny the off-field issues but believed it was blown out of proportion.

"It's just another kick in the guts for rugby on the Far North Coast," Cotterill said.

"The off-field stuff was made out to be a lot worse than what it really was.

"I think it's just about money more than anything because it is expensive to send a team. But they shouldn't just be trying to save a few dollars instead of looking after the best interests of the team."

FNC had five players make the side when Lismore hosted the Country Championships in 2011.

Cotterill believes it would be difficult for players to make the Country side playing for other zones.

"It affects Country selection because coaches would have to give preference to their own players when picking a zone team," he said.

"We had a two-year plan going in last year and wanted to compete in the top tier." FNC will still enter a colts side in the Under-20s.

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