Trials fail to give clue to rep side
THE Northern Rivers rugby league representative trials were held at Mullumbimby yesterday with selectors having no clearer picture as to who will be in their first grade squad.
Northern Rivers divisional secretary Bill Carroll said the trial was a little disappointing in the A Grade, with many players unavailable or unable to attend.
He said normally the trial created plenty of competition for places.
"What selectors will do now is watch matches from the first two rounds of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League comp and then make their decisions," Carroll said.
"That should gives us and coach Jamie O'Connor four weeks to work with the squad prior to their first game against Central Coast on May 13."
That won't sit well with clubs such as Cudgen Hornets, who have drawn South Grafton Rebels in the first round and then have a bye in the second.
The Rebels will be only fielding second grade and under-18s in the NRRRL, leaving Cudgen's A Grade without a match until April 23 when they play Grafton Ghosts.
However, Carroll said that many of the players from the Hornets are well-known by the selectors and they will take that into account.
Carroll said yesterday's trial was attended by Country Rugby League selector Lindsay Bowne, who at least saw plenty of promise from the under-18s vying for rep honours.
He said there had been about 40 players divided into teams with many of them coming from the Northern Rivers academy side.
In terms of numbers, the regional rugby league has a strong under-18 competition, with only the Tweed Coast Raiders not putting forward a team this year but have indicated that would be their intention in the future.
It has also meant that in the past, the representative side has done well in the NSW country challenge.
"We know a lot of these young players and their ability and are confident we can put together a side which should be able to defend the title won last year by the Northern Rivers," Carroll said.
The under-18 side will by coached by Peter Smith and Wayne Cullen.