Merger is not a dirty footy word
MERGER is often a dirty word in sport.
It means a loss of identity, sometimes revenue and most importantly a loss of control for long time club servants.
When the Ipswich Rugby League (IRL) told clubs last week that Laidley Lions, Lowood-Tarampa Stags and Rosewood Roosters would have to merge for the good of the sport, predictably not everyone was happy with the idea.
But Laidley president Len Moyle is one long-term official who sees the benefit of creating one strong IRL country club from the three.
Moyle is celebrating a 40-year association with the Lions but told the QT the merger was the best way to grow the game in the region.
"We want to go ahead," Moyle said. "I've been one of the blokes pushing it to give our younger blokes a pathway.
"At the moment we are struggling to get any under-18s.
"Without senior footy, most of our-18s go to Gatton or Ipswich to play. We're never going to get ahead if our players are going somewhere else to play."
Moyle's point was highlighted by the fact four Laidley juniors enjoyed premiership success this year with Norths' under-18 team.
Moyle said those players are most likely lost to the club but a well-run merged club would stop the drain from the country areas.
The club stalwart went further in his support of the idea.
"It's going to have to be a totally new club," Moyle said.
"Some people are saying they want to keep their own identities but they really have to go if it is going to work. We have three good junior clubs so there is no reason to change any of that but the senior club needs its own identity.
"Everybody has pride in their club and no-one's been around the country clubs longer than me. But sooner or later everyone has to realise you have to do the best thing for rugby league, not just yourself."
The IRL plan is to have the merged club compete in Reserve grade next season and field an A-grade, Reserve grade and under-18 team in the 2014 competition.
Moyle said that was possible but it may take a bit longer to be a strong, competitive club.
"At the moment Rosewood looks to be on the same level as us but Lowood are less keen on the idea," he said.
"I think it will happen in the end but I think it might even take more than two years.
"It's a big ask to jump to A grade in only two years.
"We need to get an A grade team out here to get the people to come and watch."