Tugun out in cold
By ADAM WRATTEN
TUGUN'S desperate bid to play in next year's Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League was quashed on Monday night with Seahawks representatives given no chance to present their case to member clubs.
Fourteen months after the Seahawks were crowned Group 18 premiers, Tugun president Dean Glover now fears for his club's future on the field.
It appears the only door left open for the Seahawks is to play in what will be a weakened six-team Gold Coast competition in the process of being re-built.
On Monday, Glover and Tugun secretary Karen Denney drove to the Lismore Workers Club and were preparing to address the Northern Rivers AGM, when they were told they would not be allowed to speak because they had not obtained QRL permission to cross the border.
The pair left, and after the meeting had started, Tugun's plight was raised by Group 18 representatives.
A short discussion followed before Northern Rivers president Robin Harley asked "as a matter of interest" for a show of hands from member clubs as to whether they thought Seahawks should be admitted.
The majority were against Tugun's inclusion, although all Tweed-based clubs voted for their admission.
Yesterday, Glover was feeling frustrated and discouraged.
"What's the point fighting (the QRL to play down there) if the clubs don't want us," he said. "I really don't know where it leaves us ... (and) I do fear for our future."
The Seahawks will hold their annual general meeting on the weekend where they will assess the situation, but the Gold Coast competition is now almost their only option.
"We have a problem because Southern Division has not given us any direction and we do not know what they are doing (in regards to that competition)," Glover said.
Meanwhile, the club's predicament makes it hard to prepare for next year.
"Bloody oath it's hard (attracting new players), I just don't know what to say to them," he said.
"We are not going to spit the dummy and walk off with our bat and ball. We will do what Tugun has always done and give 100 per cent wherever we play."
Southern Division executive officer Troy Morton yesterday said the Gold Coast was looking at a six-team competition in 2006.
This would include Burleigh, who are also fighting to get their second team re-admitted into the South East Division (formerly known as the Mixwell Cup) after losing a QRL appeal.
It's believed Burleigh would field three teams in the Gold Coast competition. Morton said the Southern Division was about to appoint a new operations manager to oversee the Gold Coast competition.
"The basic plan is in place for the structure of the competition," Morton said. "No-one believed this was going to happen, but the reality is it will, and in future we are looking at a strong competition."