Long-awaited merger triggers formation of Eastern Suburbs team

IT has been a long time coming.

However, the Ipswich Rugby League has announced the first steps in creating a new Eastern Suburbs team - a joint venture combining the Springfield and Redbank Plains senior clubs.

The club will field Reserve grade and under-19 teams in the Ipswich premier competition next year, with a view to an A-grade side as well in 2015.

The Panthers and Bears will retain control of their own, independent junior clubs.

The IRL's goal for years has been to encourage the creation of two new, joint venture clubs (Rosewood, Lowood Tarampa and Rosewood the other).

The belief is this will strengthen the premier competition with eight even, self-sufficient clubs, and provide better opportunities for young players.

"This joint venture is about providing a pathway for juniors from these clubs to play Premier Grade football, and does not include the merging of any junior clubs," IRL president Jack Rhea said.

However, those opposing the mergers, with Lowood Tarampa and Rosewood the most vocal, aren't budging.

Clubs do not wish to lose their senior identity and the most common argument is players for these teams want to play with their mates and for their club.

If they had high ambitions, they would have joined one of the existing A-grade clubs.

When the QRL consultant, now Sydney Roosters boss Brian Canavan, reviewed the IRL competition set-up last year and recommended the same mergers, it was a green light for the IRL to make it happen.

Springfield and Redbank Plains have proved more agreeable than Lowood Tarampa and Rosewood and you can be sure there is a sense of relief around the IRL that the Eastern Suburbs team is a reality.

The plan is for positions for coaches and support staff to be advertised by mid-November.

Keep reading the QT for the reaction from Springfield and Redbank Plains.

Name new SIDE

What do you get when you cross a panther with a bear?

The Eastern Suburbs working party is running a competition to find the best name and logo for the new team. See the Ipswich Rugby League Facebook page for more.

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