Training not dollars



TWEED rugby league club officials have dismissed claims they are forking out the big dollars some former Group 1 coaches believe are being paid to players.

They say players are paid substantially less than the $600mark Ballina coach Chris Binge indicated in Saturday's Daily News.

And they refute their clubs, playing in the inaugural Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition, are being subsidised by super-rich leagues clubs.

Murwillumbah and South Tweed don't have leagues clubs. Cudgen is sponsored by the Cudgen Leagues Club, but most of its income is generated through other means.

And Seagulls' budget is in line with the other clubs, although obviously it has a bigger allowance for its Queensland Cup campaign.

The current disparity has more to do with professionalism, junior development and fitness than financial clout.

Privacy restrictions prevent officials from disclosing what their clubs pay. But their case has been backed up by the man who helped devise the business plan for the new competition, involving financial analysis of the former Group 18 clubs.

Chris Gallagher said it was a misconception Tweed teams had more financial clout.

"It's not a case of money, it's a matter of organisation," Gallagher said. "There is a different culture up here, the club's are more professional."

He said there was still plenty of life left in this year's competition, particularly as Tweed teams had to play each other again in the final third of the regular season.

And, once this year's comp wound up, he said, the former Group 1 teams would need to look at how the Tweed clubs prepared, with strong off-season training and professional administrations.

Seagulls president Tom Searle said: "At the end of the day what you do on the field is a reflection of what you put in at training."

Murwillumbah president Nigel Lofts said playing better teams helped you lift your own game. He said sometimes just a little extra fitness could see a team get home.

South Tweed president Bob Loring and Cudgen football development manager Noel Lang both said their clubs had worked hard to develop competitive youth.



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