THE COUNTRY Rugby League is sending some of its representative sides around the Southern Hemisphere this year and a few locals have already booked a ticket.
Four officials from the Group 4 and 19 area have been appointed to special roles with the Country Firsts and U18s sides, which are touring South Africa and New Zealand respectively.
Armidale resident and Group 19 treasurer Richard Stallworthy was a team manager with the Country Firsts last year, when it went to Samoa, and this year he will fill the same role for the CRL’s first South African adventure.
Group 4 secretary Mick Schmiedel has been handed the job of team manager for the Country U18s, which heads to New Zealand in July.
He is joined by Werris Creek’s Dave Parsons, who is a strapper for the team and brother of Matt Parsons, who is also involved with the CRL U18s as a selector.
“It’s good because it’s not something you apply for,” Schmiedel said.
“They actually appoint people that they want to do it.”
That’s good news for those who have been appointed.
What Schmiedel is not so happy about is being denied the chance to coach the North Tamworth U18s this year.
As G4 secretary he is not allowed to be a club coach.
“I was going to help out Norths 18s, mainly because I wanted to help the kids and bring them through to first grade footy,” Schmiedel said.
“But it was pointed out that because I’m on the management committee it’s not allowed to happen.
“It’s in the by-laws of CRL that coaches can’t be on the general committee, but because we are a small group we have a couple.
“I don’t think it can be the best thing for the game to stop people coaching under 18s.”
There was nothing stopping G4’s under 14s and 15s from receiving some coaching on Sunday.
The Group put on a special clinic for any player in those age groups who wanted to be there and 52 kids turned up at Gunnedah’s Longmuir Fields.
“We’re ecstatic with that,” Greater Northern regional area manager Scott Bone said.
“There was a good spread of Gunnedah, Narrabri and Tamworth kids.
“And I know of seven or eight kids who rang up and said they couldn’t make it.”
There will be another open clinic for under 14s and 15s at Gunnedah on March 10.
n Meanwhile the Wests Greater Northern Academy completed its season in Tamworth on the weekend. The two GNA squads won all three of their matches against the North Coast, Northern Rivers and Western academies.