Rockhampton league shun Gladstone teams as the divide widens
RUGBY LEAGUE: There will be no Gladstone-based teams in the Rockhampton extended top-tier competition from season 2019.
Gladstone Valleys, Gladstone Brothers, Tannum Seagulls will not be in the Rockhampton Rugby League extended men's competition, and Wallabys, 2018 RRL women premiers Tannum Seagals, Calliope Roosters and Valleys have been exiled from the Rocky female competition.
After a meeting held by Gladstone Rugby League on Monday night, it was proposed there would be a division one and two men's GRL competition but it was not yet decided how many teams would make up these divisions
Calliope Roosters, Wallabys, Valleys, Brothers and Valleys are likely to make up both divisions and the same clubs are likely to be in the women's competition except Brothers.
"There's a lot of conversations still (to be had) and one club wanted to play in the Rockhampton competition," GRL president Richard Duff said.
"Respectively, we heard everything that had to be said, however no one can gain entry into the Rocky comp now because the Rockhampton clubs have voted against any Gladstone teams entering their competition."
Duff said the meeting had "healthy and progressive" conversations and all Gladstone clubs had received an email about the final decision yesterday.
Valleys, Gladstone Brothers and Tannum Seagulls finished sixth, seventh and ninth in what was a 10-team men's Rocky competition in 2018.
"The Gladstone clubs were at the bad end and Rocky had the luxury of Capras players going down (ones who didn't make the game-day Capras team)," Duff said.
"We just haven't got the depth in the men's competition here and Gladstone is a boom and bust town where we had a very good competition when Curtis Island was going and even had ex-NRL players.
"But we are concious of players who had to play two, even three games last season."
Duff also said that this demand on some players could drive players away from the game.
Northern Districts Rugby League Clubs Agnes Water and Miriam Vale Magpies are certain to remain in that competition, despite rumours circulated that both were about to move.
But NDRL chairman Neil Redfern told the NewsMail even if they wanted to they couldn't.
Redfern said there was only one way the clubs could join. "If we (the NDRL) weren't operational at all then they could move," he said. "They could have the grounds to break away."
Miriam Vale coach Mitch Brennan said the side is focusing on playing in the NDRL, despite not being affiliated.
Nothing has been talked about Gladstone.
"At this stage we will be in the NDRL," he said.
"The president hasn't said anything to me about it."
NewsMail contacted the club directly for a further response but got no answer.
Duff said they would welcome both clubs but only if the NDRL couldn't form a competition.
"The QRL's charter is to get people playing rugby league and we think in some way that we can support that competition if they can't raise enough teams to have a competition," he said.
"We just have to wait and see about them guys forming a competition and see where they land and take it from there."
The NDRL is set to meet on December 16 to finalise their plans of a competition for next year.
Redfern said at this stage they were aiming for four teams, potentially five if Gin Gin confirm, to commit to the season.
Meanwhile Duff was disappointed the RRL women's competition did not want to have Gladstone teams in it and said there would be a special meeting tonight. He said there had been a groundswell of interest from junior girls after the success of Australian Jillaroo and Gladstone Wallaby Chelsea Baker.
"It's a pretty big fall-out for our women's competition and we really wanted them to be in the Rocky competition and just last year (2018), we finished one and two on the table - Wallabys and Tannum - and Tannum ended up winning the whole thing," Duff said.
"Our player depth here is tremendous and for us it's tragic that the girls aren't in that competition up there just to better them."