Newcastle RL set to sever ties with Country Rugby League

NEWCASTLE Rugby League club delegates will be asked to vote on Monday night to support a motion to break away from the Country Rugby League.

DECISION: Matt Harris

DECISION: Matt Harris

If the proposal to sever ties with the CRL proceeds as planned, the Newcastle RL would then seek affiliation with the NSW Rugby League.

In an email to the eight district clubs over the weekend, Newcastle RL general manager Matt Harris indicated the NSWRL board had agreed to the affiliation proposal “on the conditions that support from the district clubs and the West Group/Knights is confirmed”.

Negotiations between the Newcastle RL and NSWRL are well advanced.

Harris’s email said that at a November 28 competition committee meeting, clubs had expressed in-principle support for the change in affiliation, providing it could be guaranteed that referees would be available and no “major obstacles” were apparent.

“It has been confirmed in writing that the Newcastle referees are dual affiliated, ensuring their availability, and after a number of meetings with NSWRL, no major hurdles have been identified,” he wrote.

But it appears not all club officials are convinced.

At least one club has queried whether player contracts, which are currently registered by the CRL, would become null and void.

It is also understood that players at the eight Newcastle RL clubs would be ineligible to represent Newcastle at the annual NSW Country Championships, which is now an under-23 competition.

The Newcastle representative team would instead be chosen from the Lower Hunter second-division competition, which is expected to remain affiliated to the CRL, along with Newcastle’s junior competition.

Country RL chairman John Anderson said he would reserve comment until after Monday’s meeting.

The Newcastle Herald left messages with Harris and Newcastle RL chairman John Crooks but received no reply.

AAP reports: Former Blues skipper Danny Buderus has been appointed NSW State of Origin assistant coach only a few weeks after Brad Fittler got the top job.

The NSWRL on Sunday announced the Newcastle legend would take on the role as the Blues plot to break the stranglehold of Queensland, who have won 11 of the past 12 Origin series.

Last month Fittler was named as coach, replacing Laurie Daley.

Buderus and Fittler played alongside eachother for NSW between 2002 and 2004.

Buderus made 21 Origin appearances and captained the Blues to consecutive series victories in 2004 and 2005 before the wins dried up.

The former Knights hooker coached the NSW under-20s to victory over Queensland this year and has worked as an assistant at the Knights since his NRL retirement in 2013.  He was briefly Newcastle’s head coach after Rick Stone was sacked in 2015.

"It's a special and exciting time to be a part of the NSWRL set-up and the new regime under Brad," Buderus said.

"Everyone knows what the Blues jersey means to Freddy. For me, it's about who has gone before you and leaving the jersey in a better place."

Another former Blues forward, Paul Sironen, has been added to the Blues' management team as has North Queensland football manager Peter Parr.

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