Souths have announced their intent to rejoin the Rugby League Mackay and District A-Grade competition with players from Whitsunday and Sarina.
Souths have announced their intent to rejoin the Rugby League Mackay and District A-Grade competition with players from Whitsunday and Sarina.

The red tape blocking three-club super team's audacious bid

JUST when Mackay rugby league fans thought they had all the answers, Souths has dropped a bombshell on the A-Grade competition.

In a post to Facebook this afternoon, the club confirmed its intent to re-enter the 2020 Rugby League Mackay and District A-Grade competition - but not as a single entity.

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Instead, Sharks coach Wayne Barnett told the Daily Mercury the club had informed QRL operations manager Jade Johnson of its desire to rejoin the competition as a "Barbarians" squad, comprising players from Souths, Whitsunday and Sarina - with Moranbah yet to commit.

Barnett said under the direction of Souths president Jason Mckenzie, the plan was to bring together players from the clubs that had withdrawn from the competition and unite under one club banner.

"At this stage there's three clubs that have given us the OK. We're just waiting on Moranbah," he said.

The Souths coach said his club had reconsidered its position after the stage 3 coronavirus restrictions were brought forward, and crowd limits removed.

"We weren't expecting it to be so relaxed," Barnett said.

"With the Townsville teams coming into the competition, we just thought there's a bit of exposure here and we didn't want our players to miss out on that opportunity."

Souths Sharks coach Wayne Barnett and Magpies coach Steve Jackson.
Souths Sharks coach Wayne Barnett and Magpies coach Steve Jackson.

RLMD chairman Adam Wright said yesterday that the door was still open for the clubs that had pulled out of the competition to return, prior to the season starting on August 1.

At the same time, Wright welcomed the prospect of players from the clubs which had pulled out joining those still in the competition - something Barnett was concerned about.

"At the moment clubs are trying to sign players (from the teams that have pulled out). We're trying to protect those clubs (that withdrew) and say 'hey, your players can play with us and at the end of it no players will be poached'," Barnett said.

"They'll be playing for no money. We'll put on a feed and a beer after the games and get back to the good old days.

"Play in their own gear, play for free, and see if we can get the community spirit going."

QRL operations manager Jade Johnson told the Daily Mercury that RLMD welcomed a Sharks return to the A-Grade competition, but there were some important details that must be considered.

Chiefly, that players must be registered and insured under the one club.

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"To play in our competition they have to play as a registered team in a registered uniform," Johnson added, putting a rule through the idea of Souths, Brahmans and Sarina jerseys on the one team.

"We encourage anybody - any of those clubs are welcome to come back.

"At the end of the day we want rugby league to be the reason people want to get out there.

"We want this year to be a year to remember for the right reasons.

"The fact we've got a competition up and going is a huge achievement, when you consider we could potentially be the only senior competition in north Queensland."


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