Once were warriors
By HUGH KEARNEY
WHAT'S in a guernsey?
Patrons at Stan Sercombe Park on Sunday for the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) match between the Murwillumbah Mustangs and the Tweed Coast Raiders could have been forgiven for thinking they had read the draw wrongly.
Instead of seeing the expected blue-and-gold of the mighty Mustangs running out against the Raider's lime green, white, gold and black outfits, they were confronted with teams wearing two very strange strips indeed.
The Raiders were decked out in red-and-white jumpers formerly reserved for the old Group 18 representative side while the Mustangs appeared mysteriously in the predominantly black colours of the NRL's New Zealand Warriors.
The Mustangs won the match 32-16.
Mustangs president Nigel Lofts said the re-scheduling of the draw for an earlier-than-expected season start had meant the team's 2006 jumpers had not arrived from the supplier in time for the first two rounds.
"Originally, the season wasn't due to start until after Easter, but the NRRRL decided to kick-off quite a bit earlier so we had to play the first couple of games in another colour," Lofts said.
"The boys aren't too happy about it but there wasn't much we could do.
"Our supplier had the spare Warriors' jumpers so we have them on loan until ours turn up," he said.
"I don't think they made us play any better. Worse, if anything," Lofts said.
With no NRRRL games this Easter weekend, Lofts said the team's new jumpers should arrive before their next match against South Grafton to be played at Stan Sercombe the following week.
Raiders coach Michael Danes blamed delay and indecision by the NRRRL for his team not having their new guernseys in time for the season start.
"We were ready to order but had to wait on the NRRRL decision about whether we would be allowed into the competition," Danes said.
"There was one delay, then they wanted to see our player lists to judge if we would be competitive," he said.
"They actually voted us out 14-12, but John Borrowdale pointed out we had been formally accepted into the competition at the AGM so they had to rescind that motion and let us in.
"Only then could we order our jumpers," Danes said.
The Raiders' coach expected the jumpers would be available for their next game against Byron Bay. The game has been switched to the Raiders' home ground at Les Burger Field, Cabarita.