Mergers sink before launch

PLANS to merge five IRL clubs into two for the 2013 season appears doomed after Lowood Tarampa Stags confirmed they planned to "go it alone" next season.

A merger between Redbank Plains and Springfield Panthers is already on shaky ground and now the second key merger between Laidley, Rosewood and Lowood/Tarampa also seems hopeless.

Long-time Lowood committee member Glen Torpy told the QT his club would not support the plan following meetings with both IRL and club players and officials.

Torpy said the plan lacked detail and important questions about structure and location had not been answered.

"In my opinion for the IRL to want this to happen in 2013 but only bring it to us now, is a bit of a joke really," Torpy said.

"On one hand they are telling us they want it to happen but where is the support we need

"There are a lot of questions that need to be answered. We put them to the IRL and they said it was up to us to work out.

"To be honest, at this stage, Lowood aren't interested in it."

The Stags have gone one step further, presenting a proposal to the IRL that would see the stand-alone club field teams in A and Reserve grades, Second Division and the under-18 competition by 2014.

It would start with the club fielding a reserve grade team next season in lieu of the failed Challenge Cup competition.

"We've been building for the last couple of seasons," Torpy said.

"We are still planning to pursue our own identity.

"We've put a proposal for Lowood to the Ipswich Rugby League.

"We've made a commitment to field an A and reserve grade team in 2014 and we've already started recruiting for that."

All three country clubs will meet with IRL officials next Tuesday to further discuss the merger proposal.

Torpy said he would be surprised if the IRL held firm on the idea despite earlier indications from IRL chairman Jack Rhea that the mergers were non-negotiable.

"We didn't get the impression at our original meeting that we would be forced into it," Torpy said.

"In the end you can't force a player to take the field.

"I definitely understand why they want to do it.

"It possibly could work down the track but at this point there are just too many unanswered questions.

"I also think it would take a big shift in culture for all three clubs."

Topics:  ipswich rugby league irl lowood tarampa stags rosewood springfield panthers

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