Tugun snubs QRL offer and sticks with NSW comp
By TREVOR HULM
THE Queensland Rugby League will tempt newly-crowned Group 18 premiers Tugun with a spot in the Mixwell Cup next season. QRL managing director Ross Livermore confirmed yesterday that the offer would be made to try to sway the Seahawks away from the new Northern Rivers League. But Tugun president Scott Swain immediately ruled out the offer. Swain said the QRL bid had come three weeks too late. "We have already made our decision and will play in the new competition for at least one year," he said. Tugun wrote to the QRL two weeks ago to advise that it would seek permission to play in the Northern Rivers in 2004. Livermore said yesterday the application would be rejected. But Swain said the Seahawks were prepared to "take the next step" and instigate a legal challenge if the QRL continued its stance. The club has legal advice that the QRL cannot stop it continuing its links with the code in NSW. Swain said Tugun had already signed coaches and play- ers to compete in the Northern Rivers League in 2004. He said the Mixwell Cup was effectively a reserve grade competition for the Queensland State League. "We believe the new Northern Rivers competition offers us the best avenue for quality football next season," he said. Tugun, who had never previously tasted Gold Coast Group 18 glory, completed a memora- ble day by winning both the A grade and reserves premierships on Sunday. The duel victory puts it in the running for the Clayton Shield for the most successful club in NSW country rugby league. A crowd of more than 5000 watched as Tugun took out the last Group 18 final. Group 18 and Group 1 will merge next season to form the Northern Rivers League.