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Group 2 issues player warning

By GREG WHITE

A 10-day suspension will be imposed by Group 2 Rugby League for any players missing representative duties without a legitimate excuse.

All clubs take heed as the Group is fed up with players pulling the pin with lame excuses.

North Coast Division will slap a ban on any lag swinging the lead.

Players withdrawing from the representative side without a genuine excuse and will be stood down not only until commitments are over as is the case at present.

This season there will be get the added penalty of ten days suspension from club football and this will be mandatory and with no further correspondence.

It could mean as much as two extra weeks on the sideline for the worst offenders so none of the players can say they haven't been warned.

Those players who are fair dinkum don't need to worry but those not so articulate and those not up front about the real state of their injuries will be on dangerous ground.

Time will tell, but let's be honest.

Something had to be done to stop the blatant manipulation no one owns up to but we all know goes on.

n IS there a lesson for our civic fathers from the success of the Orara Sevens without the NRL circus in sight?

Since February visits by our heroes began I've been a lone voice of caution saying their real purpose is to drum up a TV audience while giving scant attention to encouraging season long attendance to our domestic football, including the juniors.

Until these spasmodic egofests are cemented into the grass roots without the patronisation of giving something back to the game the city clubs rip too much out of, they're a sham.

Look at the figures.

Soccer and Aussie Rules participation continues unabated while league numbers stay static at best with a few increases in isolated pockets taking levels back to where they were 25 years ago.

Admittedly the Orara success may not have been an instant hit without the profile provided by a certain Gladiatorial fellow, but it was local people organising a local event for locals.

Mixing the big name players ? even those long retired ? with the locals on a level playing field and weaving them into the fabric of the exercise has done more for country football in a week than a dozen visits by the Pitbulls could ever do.

So a suggestion for Council and the Sports Unit.

Forget bending over backwards and providing a swag of sweeteners to get NRL clubs back into town to take centre stage at the expense of the domestic game.

Pour everything into building the Orara Sevens into the biggest in the nation with a special focus on attracting barbarian sides of former greats and let them loose upon the populace.

By all reports these seem to know how to conduct themselves.

Keep bringing individuals back over the season as high profile guests at club footy and watch the whole thing boom.