There?s plenty happening


SO you reckon nothing much happens in local footy?

Since the start of the year this is some of what's happened in Group 2 rugby league.

And we're only one week into the minor premiership.

n Gimbisi Valley sack Willy Lockwood as captain coach and replace him with Gerald Bradshaw.

n During the Orara Valley Sevens a high profile (soon to be NRL) player under suspension takes the field in contravention of an official direction while there's conjecture another NRL player did something similar.

n Following the trials series it's found three players have been called to face the judiciary, all from the Gimbisi club and one of those players for two different cases that get him an extended suspension.

n A week before the competition commences the Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo club withdraws all grades, days after declaring there was no problem with player numbers.

n Five days before the competition kickoff, Willie Baker steps down as captain-coach of Nambucca Heads in favour of local hero Geoff Batten.

Willie then plays a starring role as the Roosters clean up the premiers.

n Referee Faron Nelson calls off the match between Gimbisi Valley and Coffs Harbour after rowdy scenes at Advocate Park.

It's announced a meeting will (again) be held on the Warriors future.

n Across Group 2 from round one, five players are sent off.

Still reckon nothing happens in local footy?

n THE Group 2 Executive, Greg Mayhew, Peter O'Grady and Jim Anderson made a flying visit to Sydney last weekend to meet with CRL general manager Terry Quinn and delegates from Group 3 and NRRRL (Group 1 and Gold Coast - Group 18) on the subject of the new Regional Area Manager (RAM).

The soon to be appointed RAM's duties will be a little different to what was first envisaged with less focus on day to day administrative chores, still to be the domain of the Group secretaries, and more to do with fulfiling a whole new range of legal requirements that country sporting organisations will be faced with.

There's nothing groundbreaking in this.

We are just being brought into line with realities our city cousins are already dealing with.

Occupational Health and Safety, Sexual and Racial Harassmen, Licensing and the Liquor Act, Public Liability and the like.

It was felt the Group and Club administrations already have enough on their plates and their workload could not be increased without having a detrimental effect so the CRL went to David Gallop with a proposal which was accepted.

Therefore, our region (Groups 2, 3 and 4) along with Riverina will be the guinea pig's and the NRL will pick up the entire cost of the scheme's implementation.

Many details are still to be worked out and we know there will be teething problems but what a fantastic initiative from the Country Rugby League, the same organisation I've taken the cudgel to on numerous occasions.

The RAM will act as a co-ordinator between the clubs and Groups and be a regular visiting inspector to ensure compliance with regulations under the law.

Until more information comes to light, that's as much as we know.

n AFTER paying out on Bellingen last week, I've been asked what steps I'd suggest to get the Magpies back on track.

Without considering the makeup of committees and personalities etc., I believe the club should not pull the pin but instead draw up a series of working plans to rebuild the club from the bottom up.

Firstly, aim at coming back in 2007 with under 18's only.

There are precedents for this and while regulations exist in the Constitution that may preclude it, what was applicable in the 1950's should not be mandatory in the modern era when common sense is needed to save a club.

Secondly, aim to come back with reserve grade from 2008 and continue at that level until it's certain there's enough strength to expand to first grade.

Resist the temptation to bite off more than you can chew.

Finally, turn your main focus towards junior development.

Work towards having the baby Magpies represented by at least one team in every Beautizone grade by 2010 and act as parents for subsidiary clubs at Dorrigo and Urunga providing at least one junior league team under their own colours and identity.

Finally, take the other codes head on.

If you don't know what I'm talking about in that department, well you're probably cluttering up space in our game, anyway.

Bello supporters can rest easy knowing there are people out there ready to assist them morally and practically.

With Nambucca picking up a substantial number of ex - Magpie's, the club has announced at least one home game will be transferred from Coronation Park to the graveyard.

Now that's the sort of generous spirit in the game I love.

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