CDRL tweaks the rules Eligibility criteria changed after Sharks drama
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.
PNG Hunters player Butler Morris arrives too late as Shawn Bowen scores in an Intrust Super Cup game at Barlow Park earlier this year.