Wattles and Warwick clubs support Oakey to stay in TRL
RUGBY LEAGUE: Kicking Oakey out of the Toowoomba Rugby League competition would be the last straw, according to Wattles president Neil Phelan.
Both the Wattles and Warwick clubs strongly support Oakey's continued involvement in the TRL.
Tonight is crunch time for Oakey with the TRL board deciding their future after recently suspending the club from the league due to their financial position and player numbers.
"If they fold, they could fold forever, Oakey should still be allowed in the competition even if they only field two teams,” he said.
"Every club has been through tough times. There is nothing to say it won't turn around for Oakey in four or five years time
"I am hoping Oakey has a bit of extra sponsorship and the town has got behind them. A few players who left have said they will play with Oakey next season.”
"All I said at the last TRL delegates meeting was to kick Oakey out would be the last straw. Country clubs have got to look after country clubs.”
Warwick president David O'Leary said he was keen to see Oakey continue in the TRL.
"If we start losing clubs, it will be to the detriment of the league,” O'Leary said.
"The Oakey Bears are important to a country town like Oakey and it is important they remain in the league.”
Oakey president Shane Turl is optimistic the Bears will have a bright future.
Oakey presented to the TRL on Friday a document on how it intends to address issues behind the club's suspension from the competition, which will make the case for the Bears to play on in the TRL.
Turl is happy with the submission and hopes for a positive outcome for his club, which is in its 50th year in the TRL.
"I was pretty happy with it. The questions they asked, we answered," he said.
"I'm optimistic. Everything they asked for, we came up with.
"They (TRL officials) looked pretty impressed with what we came up with."
Oakey held a player sign-on day at the weekend and looked to have plenty of support from prospective players, some of whom will come back to the club to help the desperate Bears.
Bears supporters rallied behind the club since news of its TRL sanction last month and that backing has helped the financial position of the club and attracted more players.
Turl has been ecstatic with the efforts of the rugby league and wider Oakey community to get behind the embattled club as it strives to compete in a 51st season next year.
"It has been great," Turl said of community support.
"It was obviously a bit of a shock when it was announced.
"Now the community knows the predicament we're in, they have got behind us."