Merger a dirty word in rugby league deal

LAST ACT: Redbank Plains Open Division 2 team celebrates claiming the 2013 premiership, beating Norths 22-12 in the grand final.
LAST ACT: Redbank Plains Open Division 2 team celebrates claiming the 2013 premiership, beating Norths 22-12 in the grand final. Claudia Baxter

MERGER is not a word Jodie Elder wants to hear mentioned in relation to the new Ipswich Rugby League club - Eastern Suburbs.

"Joint venture," the Redbank Plains Rugby League Club president insists.

The venture will see Redbank Plains and Springfield join forces to create a senior club which will field under-19 and reserve grade teams in the IRL next year.

Elder is still passionately a Redbank Plains Bear and would rather see the Bears forge on in their own right.

But she can see the benefit of the joint venture "in terms of a forward direction and playing paths for juniors."

She also knows that with the IRL's mindset to fight, it is a losing battle.

She will remain central to the Bears junior club and will take a keen interest in the way the new venture is handled.

"Wary is probably the word," Elder says.

"There's no denying a premier club is definitely needed.

"In terms of the calibre of talent, I think we both have that.

"But if we don't have the opportunity to stand alone, this is the way to go. Of course both clubs would rather stand alone."

Elder is encouraged by the fact the venture is being overseen by IRL facilitator Dean Daylight.

It will take away the tribal enmity's that prove one of the biggest barriers to making the venture work. It has already taken a lot of putting pride aside for both clubs to even reach this point. "The only way it is going to work is if the clubs work together," Elder said.

"So far the signs are promising."

Springfield junior president Kenny Hughes is even more enthusiastic.

"I'm excited by the opportunities for Springfield and Redbank Plains players to push through to a higher level of football in Ipswich," Hughes said.

He believes the success of the venture depends on how enthusiastically the club is embraced.

"It's hard to build a great culture in a new club but from the meetings we've had, it's all coming together very well," he said.

SEEING THE LIGHT

DEAN Daylight believes the hardest part of creating an Eastern Suburbs club has been done.

That was getting Springfield and Redbank Plains to agree to make it happen.

"The biggest challenge I think we've overcome - the attitude to get it right," he said.

"Now both clubs are at the table and willing to make it work."



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