A referee shortage has meant changes to the draw for round 11 of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League, with two Retravision Northern League A-grade games being played at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff, on Sunday.

Cudgen play Lower Clarence in A-grade starting at 2.45pm, but that match will be preceded at noon by an A-grade match between South Tweed and Grafton Ghosts.

The day’s games begin at 10.30am with the Under-18 clash between Cudgen and Lower, followed by the South Tweed-Ghosts first grade game, which will be followed by the reserve grade clash between Cudgen and Lower Clarence.

Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League secretary Doug Harrison told Farnorthcoaster that there were five referees unavailable this weekend, and with some of the clubs involved in those two games not fielding three teams this season, it was convenient to hold two first-grade games at the one venue.

Injury, weddings and unavailability are the reasons for the shortage of whistle-blowers.

One A-grade referee, Ken Booth, is controlling games at the national Under-15 championships in Brisbane.

Harrison says there are some great young refereeing prospects coming through the ranks.

“We’ve got a great crop of juniors coming through, and there’s a strong chance one of them will get to control a first-grade game later this year as a reward,” he said.

Meanwhile, the match of the round is the clash at New Park, Kyogle, where the Turkeys will host Mullumbimby.

It’s a crucial match for both teams.

Defending premiers Mullumbimby Giants are in in equal fourth spot, just two points ahead of Kyogle, who share sixth spot on 12 points with the in-form Lower Clarence.

Lower Clarence take on Cudgen and should get the points.

Ballina and Byron Bay clash at Ballina, with competition leaders Byron the hot favourites.

The day also will serve as a fund-raiser for breast cancer.

Murwillumbah will host Marist Brothers and will face a tough task against the second-placed Rams.

Casino RSM will take on Grafton Rhinos at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino. The Rhinos will be favoured.

Tweed Coast Raiders, who are fourth, have the bye and will play Evans Head in reserve grade only.

Points: Byron Bay 18, Marist Brothers 16, Grafton Ghosts 16, Tweed Coast Raiders 14, Mullumbimby 14, Kyogle 12, Lower Clarence 12, Grafton Rhinos 8, Cudgen 8, Casino 7, Ballina 6, South Tweed 5, Murwillumbah 4.

SATURDAY  29  June                                

  • Evans Head v  Tweed Coast, Reserve Grade only, Stan Payne Oval, Evans Head, kick-off 2.30.

SUNDAY  30 June

  • Ballina v Byron Bay, 3 Grades, noon start, Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina. First Grade kick-off 2.45.
  • Kyogle v Mullumbimby, 3 Grades, noon start, New Park, Kyogle. First Grade kick-off 2.45.
  • Murwillumbah v Marist Brothers, 3 Grades, noon start, Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah. First Grade kick-off 2.45.
  • Casino RSM v Grafton Rhinos, 3 Grades, noon start, Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino. First Grade kick-off 2.45.

Please note below:

  • Cudgen v Lower Clarence, 4 games, 10.30 start, Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff. First Grade kick-off 2.45.  South Tweed v Grafton Ghosts, First Grade only, to be played at Ned Byrne Field at noon. First Grade double-header.