Seagulls and Raiders to merge in 2013 for shot at Bycroft

New GCTRL chairman Peter Daley (left) and operations manager Tom Marzella, flank Tweed Coast Raiders coach Arwin Marcus after the AGM on Wednesday night.
New GCTRL chairman Peter Daley (left) and operations manager Tom Marzella, flank Tweed Coast Raiders coach Arwin Marcus after the AGM on Wednesday night. Debbie Marzella

A PROPOSAL by Tweed Heads Seagulls to return to the elite Bycroft Cup ranks has received a favourable response from Gold Coast Tweed Rugby League officials and clubs.

But only on the proviso that they form a relationship with Tweed Coast Raiders for the 2013 season.

The Raiders have embraced the proposal which would ensure competitive first and reserve grade outfits after struggling to make an impact on the field after joining the GCTRL from the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League this year.

Seagulls, former long-time members of the Gold coast Tweed competition, opted to drop out of the Bycroft Cup for 2012 but approached GCTRL a month back, requesting to field A Grade and Under 19 sides in the 2013 season.

That proposal to field an under 19 side has stalled proceedings.

According to GCTRL officials Seagulls, who also field teams in the state-wide Queensland Cup and FOGS Cup (Under 20) competitions, would have to recruit under 19 players from other clubs in the Tweed such as Bilambil, Cudgen and the Raiders.

"That was something of which we are extremely mindful," said GCTRL operations manager, Tom Marzella.

"Our concern was that Seagulls was unable to field an under 17 side last season so they would have to look elsewhere for their under 19 players - logically those players would come from the other Tweed clubs and that would be totally unfair to them.

"For that reason alone, we informed Seagulls that they could form an affiliation with Tweed Coast for next season after which we will reassess the situation and determine whether Raiders and Seagulls can split and become separate entities again in 2014.

"The league believes that by 2014, Seagulls will be able to field an under 19 outfit from its own ranks - they fielded two under 16 teams in 2012 and those kids will graduate to under 17's next year and then in 2014 be eligible for the under 19's."

Marzella said "Seagulls had gone away" to discuss the proposal and that the league was hopeful the club would see the logic in the plan.

"We have our next meeting of club delegates on December 5 when we will start to look at the draws for next season so obviously we would like a decision from Seagulls by then," he said.

Marzella said that if Seagulls knocked back the proposal, it would be a return to the "same status quo as in 2012" in which Seagulls players were able to have dual registrations to play in either the Queensland Cup for Seagulls or with Bycroft Cup clubs in the GCTRL.

"If they do go down that road and opt out for next season, we'll certainly look favourably on any future proposal by Seagulls to return to our competitions," he said.

If the joint venture between Seagulls and Tweed Coast goes ahead, Marzella said there were a number "of issues to be nutted out but they shouldn't pose any real problems and can be easily sorted out".

Those issues include coaches, administration and training personnel, playing strip, badging and home game venues.

Topics:  bycroft cup merge raiders seagulls

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