Gimbisi Warriors appeal decision delayed
By GREG WHITE
MACLEAY Valley Mustangs have been directed to make preparations for a home game at Verge Street Stadium tomorrow to "be on the safe side."
This frank admission was made by Group 2 rugby league chairman Greg Mayhew after the Country Rugby League Appeals Board meeting at Wauchope on Thursday night suspended the hearing into the Gimbisi Valley five year ban after listening to two hours of evidence.
The Board will re-convene in Wingham from 1pm this afternoon with a final ruling expected late in the day.
Mayhew's action suggests the appeal once considered a forlorn hope may now not be so cut and dried.
When asked what 'fresh evidence' the Warriors had tendered on which to base their appeal, the chairman replied: "Good question."
"When the CRL's Warren Kimberley convened the meeting he commented he was unsure why we were all here.
"Probably only because the Appeals process demanded it."
Assisting Kimberley on the panel were Newcastle delegate John 'Choc' Anderson and Group 21's Tony Goldman.
Group 2 treasurer Jim Anderson represented the local league with Kempsey solicitor Paul Donovan pleading on behalf of Gimbisi Valley.
According to Mayhew, two witnesses appeared for the Warriors and were questioned at length.
When written evidence from the Coffs Harbour club was tabled, Mr. Donovan lodged an objection.
"That evidence was declared inadmissible as the witnesses were not present," Mayhew explained.
"The next move was to direct Group 2 and Gimbisi to be at Wingham for a continuance.
"We are going to sit down together and take another look at the video.
"After that, hopefully a final judgement will be handed down."
Mayhew has confirmed if the appeal is upheld, the Warriors will be reinstated immediately and their game with the Mustangs tomorrow will go ahead as originally scheduled.
However, should the appeal be denied it's unlikely to be the end of the matter.
During a street march and protest in Kempsey on Wednesday, Gimbisi president Tony Gray made it plain a negative ruling by the CRL would almost certainly open the door to a legal challenge.