Bright future after tough times

THE conduit for regional rugby league to the major league was in town and believes the game in Gladstone is recovering after the recent dire straits.

The Central Division chose Gladstone as its latest location to coincide with the Gladstone District Rugby League presentation, which the board attended.

Central Division chairman Bert Borland said the tumultuous times Gladstone rugby league has endured appeared to be gone.

“I think they've done it really tough, and to their credit they've hung in there and I think the competition is improving here,” Borland said. “When it's all said and done, it's about the game. If the game itself is healthy everything else will grow around it.”

One of the main issues the body believes is pressing for Queensland regional rugby league is ensuring the grassroots is not ignored.

“It's really important with this move for the rugby league commission, which Queensland Rugby League supports, but what we don't support is the format,” Borland said.

“We didn't believe as it was explained to us that the grassroots would be catered for, and that's the bit we're trying to protect.

“The QRL doesn't need to be convinced of the importance of grassroots. They're totally in-tune with it.

“We have to convince the NRL sides and News Limited that this is why we're doing this.”

The pathway for 16s and 18s into representative football was on the agenda at the weekend, and a new system has been introduced to provide youngsters another way into the Mal Meninga and Cryil Connell Cup teams.

At the meeting, it was agreed Gladstone would be part of a group of regions that will form a development squad program. Young players will be sent to a training camp in Rockhampton in December for a chance to make the Central United teams.

“Kids will be given the opportunity to play representative footy by putting this system in place,” Borland said.

In terms of Gladstone, the board will look at how the division can help the Gladstone District Rugby League continue to thrive.

“They're either looking for financial assistance or someone on the ground to assist in the day-to-day administration and running of the game,” Borland said.

A review of staffing levels is being undertaken.

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