REVEALED: Do or die tonight for Biloela footy club
RUGBY league is the lifeblood of towns right across Queensland and for many years Biloela has fiercely supported their Panthers.
However, after continual drops in participation numbers among the senior ranks in recent years, the Biloela Panthers Rugby League Club are no longer able to fill one full squad in 2020.
Tonight at 7pm, the Panthers committee and players will meet to decide the fate of the club for 2020 with the option of folding or fielding one side in a new competition being explored.
Secretary Chloe Stevens said she spent a lot of her weekends as a kid at the Panthers with deep family roots within the club.
“When I joined the committee last year I predicted the club would need to look at folding in five years’ time but it’s looking more like it will be this year or next when the Biloela Panthers won’t exist anymore,” Ms Stevens said.
“We’ve gotta go back and rebuild the club.
“Best case scenario tonight is that we are able to field one team in a new competition.”
Last Monday, president Pat Barron met with officials from the Rockhampton Senior Rugby League competition to explore the club’s options.
Rockhampton competition officials will not allow the Panthers to be a part of the competition with just one senior team.
Most weeks last year the Panthers had to rely on players playing up to three games each Saturday during the season to avoid forfeiting each week, which costs the club nearly $1000.
The Panthers aren’t the only club struggling to field consistent teams, according to Stevens, with Biloela Valleys and Biloela Rugby Union Club scraping by.
“Unfortunately now, rural sports are struggling and we just can’t get the support that we used to have,” Stevens said.
“Sadly these days people care about their jobs a lot more, which they should.
“This also plays a role for my partner and I, we can't afford for him not to be at work by getting injured.”
Stevens said she couldn’t remember a time when her club was in this situation and she could still look back to the club’s glory days a decade ago.
“Back when I was child, say 10 years ago, it was booming at the club,” Stevens said.
“You’d have A grade and two reserve grade teams with heaps players and support.
“It would be a lot of history lost and a lot of locals come and support the team at our eight home games a year we have in the Rockhampton competition.
“We have to hold our heads high and hope for the best.”
The meeting to discuss the Panthers’ fate is at their clubhouse at the Rainbow Street sport complex.