Back to the future for local league
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
NOT everyone is in favour of a proposed move to drop the CQ Extended League premiership for a Gladstone district rugby league competition.
Gladstone Brothers Rugby League Club president Paul Smith believes ditching the existing competition to return to a local model would be a backward move.
'The reason we went to Extended League was to improve the standard of competition and improve the blokes' skills,'' Smith said yesterday.
'I don't know why we'd want to go back to backyard football. In the past two weeks we've scored 440 points (in all grades) and had 66 scored against us playing against local teams.'
Smith doubted a local competition would attract enough additional players to compensate for the loss of quality opposition provided by the likes of CQU Norths, Rockhampton Brothers and, to a lesser degree, Yeppoon.
He said Miriam Vale and Calliope had not proved they had the talent to compete in the Gladstone District Rugby League and, although he realised changes needed to be made, didn't think dropping the Extended League was the answer.
Conversely, Smith's Wallabys counterpart Glenn Butcher said his club would support a return to local competition. Butcher said more players would be drawn to the game if there was less travel involved and the competition draw proved friendly to shift workers.
'I don't think we'd lose anything in competition,' Butcher said.
'Wallabys and Brothers would stay strong while Valleys and Tannum Sands would gain more local players.
'With the two clubs (Brothers and Wallabys) having a higher number of representative players (for a higher tier competition), that would give Valleys and Tannum the chance to knock over Brothers and Wallabys.'
Butcher said the largest crowds at Marley Brown Oval had been for local derbies, with even the GDRL grand finals outranking Extended League deciders, and that a local competition would get more 'bums on seats'. Butcher believed a return to local competition would also enhance the social aspects of the game although Smith warned of a return to the past when club rivalries often spilled to incidents off the field.