Transfer a Bolt from the blue
A DISPUTE between Bellingen and Dunghutti rugby league clubs over who owns the services of Lewis Bolt may have revealed an anomaly in the new system of electronic player clearances.
Bolt was cleared to the Magpies after turning out for that club in the February match against Army Thunder, but Magpies secretary Russell Fensom objected when he saw the big prop preparing to play first grade for the Broncos in Sunday's clash at Verge Street Stadium.
“We believe he signed a registration form, agreed to terms and was cleared to play with us and I've never received any paperwork that tells me he went back the other way,” Fensom said.
Meanwhile in Kempsey, Broncos supremo Charlie Quinlan maintains Bolt was one of four players seeking transfers to Bellingen that they tried to block at the last management committee meeting.
“They told us we couldn't keep Dion Marr as there weren't sufficient grounds not to clear him but as Lewis and the two Kelly brothers were still financially committed to our club, the Group ruled in our favour and the boys decided to stay,” he said
Oxley Regional Manager, Scott Bone, said the evidence in his possession agreed with the stand taken by Quinlan.
“Lewis was cleared to Bello, then back to the Broncos,” he said.
“I've asked Group 2 to check their records and as soon as (registrar) Peter O'Grady returns from holidays, I believe that will be the ruling.
“The new Dunghutti secretary Dave Fernando is right on the ball and all my evidence points to a simple misunderstanding.”
Both Fensom and Quinlan are adamant they received no warning the transfer of Bolt was in motion, as should have been done under the newly-introduced system.
When explaining the process to the clubs at the annual conference, Bone said an SMS would be sent to all interested parties once the process began with seven days available to lodge objections, otherwise an automatic clearance would be issued by Country Rugby League.
“Our secretary didn't receive a message to say Lewis had applied and I have no doubt Russell (Fensom) also wasn't informed,” Quinlan said, confirming rumours his club had objected to the transfer of 21 players they claimed still had financial commitments to the club.
“We had one young bloke receive money personally from Paul Davis and also have footy boots and training gear bought for him.
“Next thing, we read in your paper the kid had been granted a clearance to play in Grafton and we hadn't been advised of the application like we were supposed to have been.
“I hope CRL and the Group take a look at this because every club could be affected.”