Macleay Valley points strip stands
MACLEAY Valley rugby league club has lost its appeal against losing the under-18 competition lead following the use of unqualified players.
The deduction sent the club from the top to the bottom of the competition ladder and after Country Rugby League directed the general committee hear their case, the clubs are believed to have voted 20-3 against restoring the points.
Clubs also voted 14-11 against the Mustangs being allowed to qualify the youngsters for the rest of the year but the CRL used special discretionary powers to allow this to happen.
It now leaves the team two points behind fifth-placed Orara Valley meaning they can theoretically still make the play-offs and go on to take the title.
Most of the problems stem from an oversight regarding the eligibility of Kempsey Dragons juniors playing up a grade and Mustangs president Mike Spalding intends to pursue changes to the rules.
“It's grossly unfair the way it affects these kids and we have to be more flexible in administering the rules,” he said.
“We have to start realising we are in competition from other codes and shouldn't be still running league like in the 1950s.
"I didn't expect empathy or compassion but what the hell can we do?
“I'll be ruminating over this for the next few months and will try to get these hard rules varied in a more sensible fashion.”
Group 2's chief administrator, Jim Anderson, said he would support a fresh look at the transition rules when players graduate to under-18s but in this case, management hands were tied by insurance requirements.
“Nobody feels good about it and, as we didn't create the situation, so it's unfair as well to paint us as the bad guys,” he said.
“If you want to change the rules, go your hardest but until that happens we have no option but to do what the book says or roll over for chaos.”