Newcastle Rugby League: Maitland Pickers support move to split from Country Rugby League

IN FAVOUR: Maitland and seven other Newcastle RL club have voted unanimously to sever ties with the Country Rugby League and to join the NSWRL.
IN FAVOUR: Maitland and seven other Newcastle RL club have voted unanimously to sever ties with the Country Rugby League and to join the NSWRL.

Maitland Pickers president Frank Lawler says the Newcastle Rugby League's move to sever ties with the Country Rugby League is in the best interest of Coalfields footy.

The Pickers, Kurri Kurri Bulldogs and Cessnock Goannas joined with their on-field rivals in unanimously endorsing the Newcastle RL’s plan to change its affiliation from Country Rugby League to the NSW Rugby League.

“What they bring to the table and what they are prepared to do to help the Newcastle RL is far superior to what the CRL have been doing,” Lawler said.

“In terms of match day support it’s a big improvement and it provides a pathway for referees which will allow them to referee in Sydney as well as country fixtures. I think as a result we will get better referees here.

“We will have similar game day structures to the Ron Massey Cup in Sydney as far as doctors, concussion testing procedures and the like. 

“There will be a doctor at each game, people to ensure concussion protocols are properly followed and a proper ground official. They will all be appointed by the NSWRL as part of the package they offer.

“We’ve been going nowhere with the CRL, we’ve been bumping heads with them for two to three years now in trying to get a single structure in place. It’s been very frustrating for all the clubs.

“Hopefully it’s a very positive move. NSWRL is keen to have us involved.”

In a statement on Monday night, Newcastle RL general manager Matt Harris said a motion was tabled at a meeting to seek affiliation with NSWRL and, after discussion, an affirmative vote was carried unanimously by the eight clubs and the Newcastle and Coalfields Referees Association.

The statement said more details would be released when available.