The sudden and shock resignation by Bill Gibbons from all posts has stunned Group 2 rugby league management.
The sudden and shock resignation by Bill Gibbons from all posts has stunned Group 2 rugby league management. Rob Wright

League men resign in frustration

GROUP 2 Rugby League has been rocked by the resignation of two key operatives.

Hot on the heels of Beautizone JRL president Mark Thomas resigning in frustration comes the announcement senior administrator and life member, Bill Gibbons, has decided to step down from all posts.

The power behind the referees association and long-serving judiciary chairman credited with bringing discipline into the modern age, Gibbons sent two final transmissions over the weekend from his much-visited website to a long list of correspondents.

"I have resigned all my positions in regard to rugby league and this includes secretary of the association," one statement said.

"I thank all persons who I have been associated with in rugby league and will join Mark Thomas in a quiet drink at the local."

While the reasons for the Thomas resignation are well known within league circles, he has declined to make any public statement.

However, he is known to have become increasingly frustrated with continuing squabbles involving some club delegates, declining player numbers and the lack of support from Country Rugby League.

And it's ongoing tension and frustration with that same body that's seen as the catalyst for Gibbons to also reduce his volunteer duties.

Online visitors to the Group 2 Referees Association today are met with the stark note: " the request of the Rugby League Commission and CRL this web site has been closed."

A final transmission explained many of the problems.

"To dispel any rumours I do not have any criticism of Group 2 or club officials - both at junior and senior level - or any member of the referees association," Gibbons said.

"I have nothing but admiration for those people who battle on to promote rugby league in this area despite considerable financial and social pressures.

"Over the past couple of years my various roles and administration style(s) brought me into conflict with the autocratic administration of CRL.

"This has been particularly so in regard to the association web page.

"Having had over 18,000 visitors in seven months it must have had some appeal and benefited local rugby league in some way.

"An attempt to control its content, by CRL, without any consultation, I find intolerable.

"Legal advice obtained indicates its present content in no way breaches any law.

"However, as the CRL is the ultimate controlling body of this sport in our area it would be beneficial for me to step down from my present roles in favour of a person who is more compatible and more suited to the model that CRL requires.

"Thank you to the friends I have made and the support I have been given over the past 40 years and with your help I believe I have made a positive difference."

Group 2 chief administrator Jim Anderson said Gibbons had agreed to assist him personally until the end of the season and would help find a suitable successor.

"That is going to be very hard as Billy and Peter (registrar O'Grady) are my two chief supporters and assistants," he said.

"To lose somebody of that calibre is a tragedy and the Group will feel the effects for years."

Meanwhile, Anderson confirms the management committee is keen to find a role for Mark Thomas as soon as possible.

"Fair dinkum, I don't know what gets into some people that they could lose a bloke of Mark's ability," he added.

"If they don't want him, we'll grab him, thanks very much."

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