CDRL tweaks the rules El­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria changed af­ter Sharks drama

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - Sa­muel Davis

A CON­TRO­VER­SIAL CDRL rule that cost North­ern Pride winger Shawn Bowen a premier­ship with Moss­man­Port Dou­glas Sharks has been changed for next sea­son.

The Sharks were dealt a mas­sive blow in Septem­ber when the Pride star was ruled in­el­i­gi­ble on the eve of fi­nals de­spite fea­tur­ing nine matches for the club dur­ing the sea­son.

Un­der the old rule, a Pride player must have played more than 50 per cent of his games in the CDRL to be el­i­gi­ble for the fi­nals.

Hav­ing played nine games at In­trust Su­per Cup level as well, Bowen was ruled out by the nar­row­est of mar­gins.

In 2019, Pride play­ers will have to play at least seven games to qual­ify for the fi­nals un­less the Pride re­main “alive” or play­ing in fi­nals them­selves.

Sharks pres­i­dent Ja­son Fasano wel­comed the change while he ad­mit­ted the rule may be tin­kered with again next sea­son.

“The 50 per cent-plus-one rule was em­bar­rass­ing for our com­pe­ti­tion, par­tic­u­larly when you look at the tal­ent that missed out,” Fasano said.

“With Shawn, this is a lo­cal ju­nior who’s been ex­tremely loyal to Moss­man.

“We were very dis­ap­pointed that he didn’t qual­ify when he had played so many games for us.

“That said, we backed the rule at the start of the sea­son and had to get on with it.”

Bowen had been ex­tremely sup­port­ive of his team­mates through­out their fi­nals cam­paign and even cel­e­brated the Sharks’ grand fi­nal win over Tully, Fasano said.

“Full credit to Shawn with how he han­dled it,” he said.

“He was so ma­ture about it. We spoke to him and his fam­ily about it.

“He ac­cepted it and moved on straight away. But we as­sured him at sea­son’s end, we would raise it with the league.”

Dur­ing the fi­nals, Pride coach Ty Wil­liams said it was im­por­tant to keep play­ers on the edge of ISC se­lec­tion play­ing in the Far North com­pe­ti­tion.

“If you’re con­sis­tently one of my bet­ter play­ers, you’re not play­ing lo­cal league any­where near that much,” he said.

“I’m sure there are a lot of peo­ple in Moss­man who would have loved see­ing him play in the grand fi­nal.”

In a fur­ther change, Un­der 18s will be el­i­gi­ble to play in any grade dur­ing a CDRL fi­nals se­ries next sea­son.

Pic­ture: JUSTIN BRIERTY

PNG Hunters player But­ler Mor­ris ar­rives too late as Shawn Bowen scores in an In­trust Su­per Cup game at Bar­low Park ear­lier this year.

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