Bush footy backed
NORTHERN Districts Rugby League clubs Miriam Vale and Avondale have thrown their support behind the continuation of the competition on the basis the executive remains effective and steadfast in 2011.
Rumours of a walkout next season have been rife in the past month, with Avondale contemplating a switch to the BRL and the Magpies looking at a berth in the Gladstone league.
But yesterday Miriam Vale Rugby League president Owen Harms and Avondale coach Brian Groves knocked them on the head.
It means South Kolan and Gin Gin, the other two clubs to compete this season, can breathe easy.
“We are 100% committed to the NDRL next year. We are also committed to supporting a functioning and effective NDRL hierarchy, referees' association and judiciary process,” Harms said.
“We aren't in the business of breaking down something that is so good. The grand final was a showpiece of rural rugby league – you can't get that in the city.”
Groves backed Harms' stance.
“Where else can you park your car 10m from the field and watch the game? It's only possible in the bush,” he said.
“We love the competition and want bush footy to continue.
“I take my hat off to (NDRL president) Mick McCotter, but we need it to continue to strengthen the executive next season.”
Harms said it was important the right people put their hands up for executive positions next season.
“I urge all NDRL clubs to band together and fight for the survival of something that is special in rural Queensland,” Harms said.
Both clubs were not satisfied with the judiciary process this season – something they hope will be improved in seasons to come.
“We want respect and integrity in the judiciary process, to wipe out illegal play and instead support fair play,” Harms said.
Groves' squad has more than 20 players under the age of 24, with five under-18s set to join their ranks next season.
“They all want to keep playing bush footy, so everything needs to be done to continue the comp,” Groves said.
“The executive needs to get stronger, because eventually we won't have a comp and we'll all have to go fishing instead.”
Mick McCotter was unable to be contacted yesterday.