NSWRL wants country teams in reserve grade



NSW Rugby League has set their sights on having teams from the bush playing in reserve grade within five years after finalising its biggest governance change in 80 years.
The NSWRL's merger with Country Rugby League was formalised on Friday, after more than three decades of talks surrounding the amalgamation.
The merger will bring the game's administration throughout the state under one board, allowing for more combined resources in strategic development programs in the bush.

It will also immediately unlock millions of dollars in funding in regional areas by freeing up administration costs and the release of the NRL's grassroots fund.
But crucially, NSWRL chief executive Dave Troddon said it could also help pave the way for clearer links between regional areas and NRL clubs through the reserve grade Canterbury Cup.

"One of the things I see in NSW is our Canterbury Cup competition is really just a Sydney competition with a Newcastle team and a Wollongong team," Trodden told AAP.
"I would love to see in a couple of years, and we're definitely working towards it, having a competition that is a statewide competition.
"That second-tier competition can only work when the teams that are in act as feeders for NSW clubs.

"So I would love to see a team at say Dubbo or Bathurst acting as a feeder for Penrith, one in Wagga acting as a feed for Canberra and one in Tamworth or Armidale acting as a feed for someone else."

Under the previous set up, the NSWRL virtually controlled the game in Sydney and CRL in regional areas. That split is now gone.

Trodden's comments come a week after it was confirmed that a Fijian team would enter the competition in 2021.

The NSW chief sees off the Queensland Cup as an example of what he wants to achieve, which has teams from Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Ipswich, Mackay, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Papua New Guinea and Townsville.

 Such a prospect has been spoken about in CRL circles for years and been advocated by boss Terry Quinn, but the merger is expected to make the plan more likely.

"In five years time I would love to be talking about a Canterbury Cup grand final between Wagga and Tamworth," Trodden said.

"(The merger) is a precondition to that being able to happen. Because there will be an alignment of strategy. You're one step closer to being able to achieve goals.

"The existing CRL would support the notion I am talking about.

"But when you have one board instead of two, it becomes possible to make those decisions. You can become a lot more nimble in your decisions."

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  • Just finished ready this, and it would be a good idea IMHO.  While it could be hard for some teams and areas owing to how many of the teams that played in the CRL over the years no longer exist as the game has been affected for some time in the bush owing to many people moving to the cities with that affecing more than just sports but other aspects as well. I have driven through towns that had RL teams in different comps, only to see their ground no longer used and no longer looked after, likewise seeing homes with old falling apart for sale signs out the front has also impacted the towns.

    Places like Lithgow, Bathurst & Orange, likewise Mudgee Moss Vale, Goulburn, Tamworth, perhaps Armidale, Taree are close enough these days where they could travel to play in a reserve comp, maybe not all of them and they don't have to be linked to a City based club either, it just gives the opportunity for players from the bush to play in a better competition which could also help get the game back on its feet in the bush as well.

    • Thanks for letting us know about this, Col. It would be great if this happens and could revitalise the game in the bush. For all the money that has come into the game in the last decade or so the country areas have been financially neglected terribly. I really hate to admit it but Qld have supported the game in their regional areas much better than we have done for ours in NSW.

  • This is awesome to read. 

    There is a need to solidify leagues stronghold in the Bush and not to mention there is much talent out there to

    I would love to have parra be involved maybe not reserve grade but as a development option for younger kids

  • Great idea!.should have happened years ago! It would have stopped the infiltration of the AFL into rural areas.

    • Monto dont think Monto RLC will get a call up, too much at risk for the NRL.

  • They need to do this

  • I look forward to visionary thinking, with Peter Vilandys coming in as the new Chairman of the NRL I think anything is possible.

    Whilst Vilandys is politically aware and very astute, I don't think he is big in the politically correct stakes, unless that correctness is used to make his ambit work.

    Look out and Mr Greenberg wants to be very careful, it takes about two minutes for Vilandys to work out who the fcukwits are.

    This will be the biggest change for the better our game has ever seen......keeping in mind the direction it is taking under the present administration.

    • I was hoping that the NRL Commission would provide a much improved vision for the game than the previous administrative structure gave us. However, the myopic and misdirected leadership that Grant and Beatty and their CEOs, Smith and Greenburg has offered nothing more than that which preceded them.

      I am hoping that Greenburg's contractual arrangements are not so bulletproof that V'Landys can't move him on quickly and appoint someone who can help him in executing positive policy that will create a level playing field for all clubs, grow the game at the grass roots level which includes regional development and move the game in a more desirable direction.

      Greenburg has been a total failure who has concentrated more on presenting a politician like persona and who is more concerned with profit, protecting referees and not offending powerful people and entities whose influence in the game should be minimised than with implementing and realising positive objectives for the rugby league community. 

      I really hope V'Landys doesn't become a disappointment like those he is replacing.

      • Alan, excellent post indeed.

        The only thing that has not changed with the NRL since Greenie came into power is his shinning dome, as all know hard to grow things on a barren rock.

        The big sorrow for me with RL is the way it has died in so many strong areas over the years..  For thos who can remember the old weekly RLW news, towards the back were 2-3 pages showing results of weekend games across Australia, NSW had huge group district teams and competitions against each other. Each year the various teams in an area would be linked to a group, with a round robin type of elimination format for a state group champion, it was a big event and draw big crowds and support.

        Places like Albury in the heart of AFL territory had 2 main RL teams, blues and roos IIRC. Tamworth had 2 and so did other locations of comparible sizes, today most have one or maybe none.

        If this concept is to work, then what is needed is for a country team to be associated with a specific NRL club, then that club should take a specific game to the country location for both teams to play there.  We see games taken to Mudgee, Tamworth and other locations but is there local matches that can be played as earlier matches?

        Unless something is done poste haste, I doubt that RL will survive in the bush. soccer was gaining momentum when I left Werris Creek and in the west and north of the state it was the same.  Some of the Southern areas that held fast against the flow of AFL, now contend with that code and soccer and its not getting better, but this plan at least gives me hope for something in the future for RL, I probably wont live long enough to see it break through but I can dream now, since this news has come out.

        • I can't agree with the idea of country clubs being linked to NRL clubs, I think it is unnecesary. I see the NSW Cup, Qld Cup & ESL as the Rugby League equivalents of the major junior hockey leagues in Canada. The job of these competitions is to develop young players to be made available for NRL clubs via a rookie draft. 

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