Magpies withdraw from 2016 A-grade comp

Magpie’s future in Col Hennessey A meeting of the committee, players and supporters last Sunday afternoon put to bed any idea that the Lower Clarence Magpies Rugby League club is folding. The ‘F’ word has in fact been banned. What has been decided is that the senior club will seek permission to go into recess for 12 months in the hope that restructure and recruitment will give everyone a fresh start for season 2017. The first priority is to ensure that the U18 squad is given the chance to represent the club in the NRRRL. The Tweed Coast club does not have an U18 team, which means the Magpies can fill the gap created in the competition. The team will train at the Yamba field, with a few Tweed Coast players joining the team on match days. Meanwhile, with the senior teams, low player numbers became an issue earlier in the year, when it was decided to not field a reserve grade side. Up to 40 players had turned up at training in early November, but it seems some attendees were just testing the waters and giving notice to other Grafton clubs that they were open to offers. The shame of it all is that this year we have the services of player-coach Ryan McGoldrick, who would have brought a wealth of experience and nous to the club with his NRL and Super League background. The good news is he likes the area and is happy to hang around and help the 18s. As to playing this year, he may have a year out (his first in over 20 years) to be with his new baby, or may go as far as to advertise his playing services on e-bay. The best thing to come out of Sunday’s meeting was a comment by one of our 18 year olds, Jacob ‘CC’ Clark, who got a round of applause from those present when he presented the face (and culture) of the future. He said he just wants to play footy. He cannot understand why players would walk away from their mates or their town just to earn a few more dollars. He is someone with leadership potential and one of eight players eligible to play in the senior ranks next year. Jacob experienced first grade last year and is disappointed he will not get the chance to play with the new coach. As a novice, he said you need a “few older and smarter players on the field to give you the confidence to play at the higher level”. The next step, following this extra ordinary meeting, is to use the May meeting to decide just which way we want to go, not just this year but in season 2017, and what steps need to be implemented.