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GROUP 20 became a nine-team competition with Hay Magpies’ application officially approved at Sunday’s Group 20 AGM.
The former Group 17 club will be making the move after a resounding 19-6 vote.
Under the agreement Hay would field a reserve grade and under 16 side in 2007 and eventually build up to three teams in 2010.
Retired Group 20 president David Sheldrick, who chaired his last AGM on Sunday, said the Magpies would flourish in the new competition.
“I can see that they have a good future,” Sheldrick said.
“It’s been documented that they have the strength in their juniors, but in their proposal there was no elaborate figure sweetening.”
Sheldrick also said he expected Hay to field a first grade side before the proposed date of 2010.
While Hay’s application was rubber-stamped without trouble, West Wyalong officials have been left fuming after the group all but ended the club’s aspirations to jump to Group 9.
West Wyalong had sought Group 20’s approval for a third time to approach Group 9 but on Sunday the motion was denied.
West Wyalong president Paul Robertson accused Group 20 and NSW Country Rugby League (CRL) of double standards.
The outcry came after the ease of Hay’s swap from Group 17 to Group 20
Robertson said the Magpies had made no formal request to the Group 17 executive to leave that competition, and accused Group 20 of hypocrisy by accepting Hay’s application.
“Why should one club follow one procedure, while another club doesn’t,” Robertson said.
Sheldrick, who retired from his post following the AGM, said West Wyalong’s bid had been thwarted because of a “technicality”.
He said the technicality was that West Wyalong had relied on a “verbal agreement”, rather than seeking written permission and as a result the request was denied.
Robertson, however, also took a swipe at the CRL, who he said had let them down over their bid to join Group 9.
When the CRL Boundaries Committee, headed by general manager Terry Quinn, met in Griffith last month Robertson said he was assured the matter would be examined.
“We had an appeal in Griffith three weeks ago and we still haven’t heard anything,” he said.
“Then our only step was Group 20 and we’ve got nowhere to go after that.”
Robertson said location was the major issue behind their argument.
In other news from the AGM, Group 17 club Three Ways United has applied to Group 20 to play its home games next year in Griffith, and in a shake-up to the Group 20 board, Terry Brady was named as the new president.
Group 20’s long association with sponsors Carlton has ended, but the group is set to put pen to paper with Tooheys for a five-year deal.
The Griffith Leagues Club signed on as sponsors of Group 20 for another five years.
- 2007 Group 20 Executive
President: Terry Brady
Senior vice-president: Brian King
Junior vice-president: Greg Daveron
Treasurer: Wayne Thomson
Board members: Adam Goldman, Frank Cauduro, Pat Mitchell, Vince Irrillil