NEW DIGS: Redbacks vice president/coach Jason Wright with club treasurer Dave Drewery outside the new clubhouse on Roddies Oval in March.
NEW DIGS: Redbacks vice president/coach Jason Wright with club treasurer Dave Drewery outside the new clubhouse on Roddies Oval in March. Gerard Walsh Erin Smith

Warwick AFL followers see their dream come to pass

BACK in 1996 the idea of starting an AFL team in Warwick was born, and in 1998 they brought home a reserve grade premiership.

The end of the 1999 season brought the club's collapse.

Despite a whole lot of disbelief in the township a band of four merry men decided to have another go. Again they were told by many nay-sayers the game would never make it in Warwick.

The Redbacks were up and running in 2001 and under a lot of pressure to succeed.

Undefeated in reserve grade for the season and having to play up in seniors every other week was a big call for a very talented side.

At season's end they had the option of walking away with another reserve grade pennant or contesting the final series in the seniors, the latter was the unanimous vote.

Winning through to the GF Coolaroo had the game won by half-time. Since those days they have only missed four finals series and contested two more GFs.

After calling Slade Park home until the end of the 2011 season, a new home for the Warwick Credit Union Redbacks was started.

Working bees took place to get the ground into playing condition, and then, many unheralded volunteers worked diligently at supplying a tent city for canteens, dressing rooms, supporters' shelter and portable toilet facilities.

For many the Saturday home game for volunteers would start at 5am and would not finish until after 6.30pm.

Anybody travelling north along Jackie Howe Drive can now cast their eyes on the best AFL facility on the Darling Downs.

This facility has been a dream for many people involved with the club and it has meant a lot of hard yakka upfront and behind the scenes for far too few.

The final touch to these dreams will be realised tomorrow at 12.30pm when the facility will be officially opened by local member Lawrence Springborg. Cr Neil Meiklejohn will be MC.

Honoured guests also include Qld Sports and Recreation representative Caitlin McBaron and representatives from AFL Queensland and AFL Darling Downs.

Hard workers, supporters, players and sponsors have stuck by the club and their dream.

Last, but by no means least, the overall business community has given the club assistance and a reason to have a red hot crack at making this dream come true. Warwick Credit Union Redbacks and all that have had any genuine input into this club, thank you one and all.



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