You can win when you lose
WOLLONGBAR-ALSTONVILLE sits conspicuously on top of the Far North Coast rugby union ladder.
The club has the four points from each of the six games it has contested, plus three bonus points, to appear undefeated – but the Pioneers have won only four games of rugby.
In the first round Lennox Head defeated the Pioneers 24-12; in the second round Casino beat them 10-8.
But administrative slip-ups by Lennox Head and Casino left the clubs in breach of Australian Rugby Union regulations forcing FNC administration officer Wayne Millane to reverse the results.
Lennox and Casino had named players who were not cleared to play in the competition. That meant the result was recorded as a forfeit, with the games recorded as 50-0 wins for the Pioneers.
Lennox Head's misdemeanour was to name a player, Scott Cardow, who was under 18 and had not completed the necessary paper work for a minor to compete in the top-grade (the club claims he sat on the bench unused throughout).
Cardow had been registered in 2009 as an underage player, and Lennox club president Barry Kiddle believed that was the extent of his responsibility.
“We had Scott signed off in 2009 and intentionally didn't go through the process again because we didn't think it was necessary,” he said.
Kiddle has since lodged an appeal with the NSW Country Rugby Union.
“Nowhere in the policy, rules or legislation is it written that a player needs to be signed off each year,” he said.
Casino, meanwhile, had the points for its biggest win of the season revoked as they played an international player, Sefa Silafau, who had not been cleared.
FNC regulations state that players coming from overseas must be cleared by the board; the same set of rules stipulate that players who cross over from another sport do not need a clearance.
Silafau had been playing rugby league in Australia for three years since he last played rugby in New Zealand, hence the confusion.
Casino Bulls have appealed to the FNC Rugby Union.
All parties seem to be at each other's throats over small-print and technicalities but all agree that a few amendments to the lawbook could avoid future problems.