Rugby league: Group 3 raise concerns about impact of players leaving to join other competitions

Former Wingham Tiger and Old Bar Pirate Danny Russell will co-captain-coach Hastings League club Laurieton this year with Jake Wheeler.
Former Wingham Tiger and Old Bar Pirate Danny Russell will co-captain-coach Hastings League club Laurieton this year with Jake Wheeler.

GROUP Three Rugby League chairman Wayne Bridge will outline his concerns about clubs losing players to Hastings League sides at a meeting to be held with NSWRL chief executive Dave Trodden this month.

Mr Trodden will speak to representatives from the three East Coast Region competitions (Groups Two and Three and the Northern Rivers Region Rugby League) on Saturday, March 21.

Mr Bridge will seek clarification as to whether the Country Rugby League (CRL) restrictions on players moving from Group Three to the Hastings League are still in place. The Country Rugby League and NSWRL merged last year.

Under the CRL system players who turned out in five first grade or 10 reserve grade matches with a Group Three club in one season couldn't sign with Hastings League clubs the next year.

"I would think that was still the case,'' Mr Bridge said.

"But that's one thing I want to check with Dave at the meeting.''

Jake Wheeler and Danny Russell, who played with Wingham last season, are co-coaches of Hastings League club Laurieton this year. Both have been cleared by the Tigers. Mr Bridge understands at least two players on Wingham's 2019 roster have also indicated they'll be heading to Laurieton.

However, Mr Bridge is also keen to check the status of the reformed Harrington Hurricanes. The club has been accepted into the Hastings League.

Mr Bridge said Group Three hasn't received any application from Harrington to play in the Hastings League, as would be the case with a new club.

"But I'm not 100 percent sure how this works because they're a club that has reformed and not a new club,'' he admitted.

He will speak with East Coast Regional regional manager Kevin Hill on the matter before the March 21 meeting with Dave Trodden.

Mr Bridge conceded he is concerned on what impact another club in the Manning would have on Group Three clubs Taree City, Old Bar and Wingham. Taree City struggled for senior numbers last season and finished last in first grade and reserve grade.

Eight clubs will play in the one grade Hastings League with the addition of Harrington.

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