The Clubhouse
The Clubhouse Matty Holdsworth

Police investigate fraud claims at Rocky sports club

ROCKHAMPTON police have confirmed they are conducting a number of fraud-related investigations into one of the worst kept secrets of the region.

The Central Queensland Rugby Union (CQRU) was placed into liquidation in September last year and had immediate emergency talks with the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) about its financial trouble.

It is believed the financial issues relate to a series of unpaid loans which could be in excess of $800,000 dating back about 16 years.

Detective Inspector of Capricornia Crime Services Darren Shadlow today said the investigations were "a couple of months old" and "regarding more than one complainant".

"One of those complainants has been made by the rugby union and is currently under investigation at the moment," Inspector Shadlow said.

"I don't want to speculate but it is a considerable amount of money.

"It is a complex investigation, as all fraud matters are, but we have the full cooperation from the rugby union."

Adding fuel to fire, the CQRU's most prized asset, Rugby Park (34 Normanby Street, The Range) has been recently put up for sale by liquidators Ferrier Hodgson by way of 'offers to purchase'.

QRU has repeatedly refused to shed any light on why Rugby Park was up for sale or what incidents occurred to put the CQRU into financial turmoil.

However, just prior to the irregularities, long-time CQRU president Ian Coombe had announced his resignation, citing "personal reasons" but would not comment at the time.

"As you know, the CQRU was placed into administration in mid-2015," a QRU spokesperson said.

"As such, the liquidators have placed the property in question on sale.

"QRU continues to ensure operations of all rugby competitions in the region and has done so throughout 2016. That QRU commitment to the rugby community in the region will continue."

When The Morning Bulletin first reported on the incident in September last year, CQRU vice-president Glenn Dodds said a "number of financial irregularities had been unearthed during the board transition".

"One of those irregularities was very serious. As such, we began talks with the QRU on how to resolve the issue.

"The plan is, coming out the other end, the CQRU will be handed back control once these issues are resolved."

The fields had only been upgraded in 2013 and are where many a local juniors forged a career in the game. Now, only an empty clubhouse and unused grounds remain.

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