North Coast is up in limbo

GROUP 2 chairman Greg Mayhew believes there was a deliberate push against the North Coast region leading up to last weekend's Country Rugby League annual meeting.

In what observers are calling a well-orchestrated coup, incumbent president Warren Kimberly of Taree was voted out after 40 years involvement with the organisation, the last nine years in the top job, and replaced by Parkes-based Jock Colley.

Colley has been the long-time chairman of selectors making him very prominent in City versus Country circles.

Strong Kimberley supporter and fellow Taree resident Kevin Hardy also lost his position on a number of committees including the all-powerful board of management while Mayhew was dumped from the Under 18 selection panel.

“It looks like delegates from Western and Southern Divisions put their heads together and decided the North Coast people were past their use by date,” Mayhew suggested.

“I don't think it was because Warren, Kevin or I did anything wrong, they just saw us as yesterday's men and it was time to move us on.

“Actually, they may have done us a favour as we can now come back and work hard in our own backyards.”

Mayhew retains his position as a CRL delegate but after surrendering his position as boss of Oxley Region to Group 4's Frank Fish, one of the major powerbrokers in the new regime, his influence has been severely curtailed.

Upon his election as Oxley supremo three weeks ago, Fish vowed to be a strong voice for the North Coast area at CRL meetings.

“We'll have to wait and see what Frank does in future but so far, there's no indication of moving ahead with the new scheme proposed for the coastal strip that we're part of,” Mayhew said.

“Barrie Smith of Group 3 had a good plan that's been well received, to re-model the structure and have Group 2 run between Maclean and Macksville.

“But Barrie is retiring and because he's seen as a Kimberley supporter, I think they'll put it aside and leave us to our own devices.”

Mayhew said he'd heard nothing of the rumoured blueprint held by the new regime, designed to rejuvenate rugby league in the bush.

“Nothing has been put on the table, not a word has been spoken about any new plan,” he said.

“Everything is still up in the air but if they have plans to lift football in the bush, be prepared to wait for a long time.

“The body they voted out substantially increased the number of development officers and administrators getting things done but now, they'll also be watching and waiting to see what happens next.”

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