Raiders juniors blocked by NSWRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Raiders juniors blocked by NSWRL

Steve Jancetic 17/12/2010 04:30:24 PM Comments (0)

Canberra's most talented young rugby league players have been banned from competing in the NSWRL's junior representative competitions after the Raiders failed to enter a team in the NSW Cup in 2011.

Canberra's SG Ball (under-18) and Harold Matthews (under-16) sides have been left high and dry by the decision, with the NSWRL getting tough after years of watching the Raiders filter players not in their NRL game-day squad back into the Queensland Cup competition.

The Raiders, along with Manly, have both had associations with Queensland Cup sides for a number of years, with the cost of maintaining a NSW Cup the main reason behind the move.

But having become sick of helping develop players only to see them boost the Queensland Cup competition, the NSWRL issued an ultimatum to both Canberra and the Sea Eagles to join the NSW Cup or risk having their junior programs blocked.

Manly have heeded the order and will play in next year's NSW Cup, but the Raiders - who pulled out of a deal to send their players to play with St George Illawarra's NSW Cup affiliate Shellharbour - will maintain their link with Souths Logan outside Brisbane.

The result is that the Raiders' SG Ball side will now be forced to play in Canberra's local open-age competition, whilst their Harold Matthews side will cease to exist save for a few carnival trips to Queensland.

"It is just impractical for us to develop junior players only to have them strengthen competitions interstate," NSWRL chief executive Geoff Carr said in a statement.

"We don't want to see anyone miss out on football but clubs have to commit to a strong game-wide structure that will improve development across the state rather than focus on short term financial savings that weaken the game's structure.

"Manly were faced with the same decision and ultimately felt that our junior programs were worth supporting.

"We have received countless correspondence from clubs supporting our stance and they have all stressed the importance of a direct pathway for junior development through to open age football in the state of NSW."

Raiders officials were unavailable for comment.

The new rules could also have a direct impact on the Raiders' depth in 2011, with players given dual registration with both Canberra and Souths Logan to be blocked from returning to the Raiders after June 30.

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