Call to get behind our Western Mustangs
HAVING a Toowoomba-based team in the Intrust Super Cup has taken a giant leap forward with the forming of a board to steer the Western Mustangs back into the State's premier rugby league competition.
Barrister Frank Martin has been elected as board chairman and the Western Mustangs was registered with corporation earlier this month and has applied for entry into the ISC from 2021.
"This is probably the last chance we have to get a team into the ISC," Mr Martin explained.
"The Queensland Rugby League has a lot of criteria that must be met to join the competition and we have met some of those criteria but what we really need now is for the community and the business community to get behind the Mustangs."
Mr Martin said though the Mustangs would be based in Toowoomba, the team's support base would stretch from the South Burnett across south-west Queensland out to Roma and Charleville and all points between.
Mustangs games would also be played in country centres that met the QRL criteria such as Roma or Kingaroy, he said.
"Every region in Queensland has a team in the ISC except the south-west," he said.
"Yet we have more juniors playing the game than any other region."
Because the region didn't have a team to provide a stepping stone for up and coming players to better themselves by reaching higher levels in the game, a lot of young players were leaving the region and joining other clubs in other centres, he said.
"It would be far better for the players to remain with their families and friends here as they make their way up the ladder before possibly going onto the NRL," Mr Martin said.
"At the moment there are about 10 players playing in the ISC who come from our region.
"But it's not just about attracting and keeping elite players here, but by keeping them here it will encourage others to play the game, to play a healthy sport."
Mr Martin and his board were under no illusion as to the task ahead in gaining entry to the ISC.
"Part of the criteria is to have a good ground and we have that in Clive Berghofer Stadium and we also have to guarantee having between $1.2 and $1.5 million a year to run the club.
"That's why we need the community, and the business community, as well as help from the QRL, local, state and federal governments to help us reach that goal.
"But the benefits are many with the team bringing people and business into the region not only for games but for tourism… it all works in.
"The make-up of this board is highly professional and we are committed to getting the Western Mustangs into the ISC from 2021."