Warwick Water Rats rugby union president Justin Wynn.
Warwick Water Rats rugby union president Justin Wynn.

Rugby Rats weighing up options

WARWICK Water Rats president Justin Wynn has threatened to take his team to the Brisbane sub-districts rugby union competition after the decision of the Downs Rugby Limited senior sub-committee to demand the club field an A-grade team to continue in the Darling Downs competition.

As reported last week, the Warwick club had requested to only field a B-grade team for the rest of the season instead of A and B grades after numbers became depleted following injuries to 13 players, mostly A graders.

Wynn said the club only received the letter on Wednesday about the decision of the senior sub-committee and the Warwick club had yet to meet to make a formal response.

“One option is to move to the Brisbane sub-districts competition and let the boys regroup,” Wynn said.

Downs Rugby Limited president Pat Brown is not convinced it will come to that.

“The Warwick situation will be discussed at a board meeting (next Friday),” he said.

“We have senior, teenage and junior sub-committees and the board is more to provide strategic direction.

“I will not say if we will or won’t overturn the senior sub-committee decision.

“Our business is to grow the game of rugby, we want a rugby presence in Warwick.

“It is in the interests of Downs rugby for Warwick to overcome its immediate issues and become the strength it once was.”

On Wednesday, the sub-committee letter bluntly told the Water Rats that to participate in the Downs rugby competition, they had to field an A-grade team.

They were also told allowing participation in B grade only would create a 10-team B grade and 8-team A grade competition thus meaning clubs with A grade teams would have six byes during the season with some teams going for up to one month without a fixture.

After receiving the letter, Wynn raised the possibility of a move to Brisbane with South West Queensland development officer Lachlan Parkinson.

“It is a huge possibility that we will take the seniors and juniors to Brisbane,” Wynn said.

“I am disgusted with the senior sub-committee being more concerned about the draw than the players.

“Many of our players would welcome the chance to travel to Brisbane at the weekend and play rugby union.

“It would be nice to have a few home games if we moved to Brisbane sub- districts. Gatton moved (from Darling Downs) to Brisbane a few years ago and are going well.”

The Warwick president puts a lot of the blame for the Water Rats predicament at the decision of the Darling Downs Rugby Union in 2009 to recommend his club join with USQ at a cost of $7000, including $1500 for insurance.

“We only wanted to play B grade but had to join USQ to do that whereas this year Highfields is not playing A grade,” Wynn said.

“Our club was petrified about paying another $7000 and decided to field A and B-grade sides this season.”

“Warwick won’t have the players to field an A-grade side for at least another two years.”

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