Brothers Club member Peter Hall moved a motion to hold a secret ballot at the meeting. The ballot papers were handed out, collected and whisked away to be tallied.
Brothers Club member Peter Hall moved a motion to hold a secret ballot at the meeting. The ballot papers were handed out, collected and whisked away to be tallied. MEGAN LEWIS Ml

Takeover saves Brothers Club

DIRE straits prompted the Brothers Leagues Club in Rockhampton to grasp a takeover-bid lifeline with both hands last night.

At 7.30pm, in a function room at the southside club, members agreed with their board, voting to become CQ Bid Leagues Club Limited, and the new home of the push for a CQ NRL team.

With the full extent of the club’s financial situation plastered across a whiteboard at the front of the room, many of the hundreds present were left reeling.

A loss was displayed for seven of the last 12 financial years; the biggest a $129,710 dip in 2002.

Brothers Leagues Club chairman Stephen Parle didn’t beat around the bush.

He issued an impassioned plea to members to help keep the club they loved afloat in safe waters.

With a $1.3 million loan to service, and the club running up hefty losses over the past decade, the bank, he said, had “one finger on the trigger, ready to go”.

“We live on the edge year by year.”

He said unless the club grew membership they would remain on the edge, or tip over into receivership.

Mr Parle made it clear if the takeover were approved Brothers would retain its name on the sporting field and would have a presence on the board.

“We agonised over the history of the club, but we want the club to be here in 20 years,” Mr Parle said.

Despite his plea some members couldn’t shake their takeover concerns. Member Peter Hall said he was hurt by “the way it’s gone on”.

A show of hands was nominated by Parle to tally votes of members, with two local magistrates on hand to count them, but Hall called for a secret vote.

Ballot papers were handed out, collected and whisked away to be tallied, while throngs of members waited about half an hour to hear the fate of their beloved Brothers.

When a result of 78% in favour was announced, the room erupted in cheering. An elated Mr Parle said the outcome was a win-win.

CQ NRL Bid team chairman Geoff Murphy is also a member of the Brothers in Rockhampton, building some of the club’s first structures out of his own pocket.

A grinning Mr Murphy said the win would give the CQ NRL bid the opportunity to give back something to their 15,000 supporters in membership of a club.

The bid team will set up its administrative headquarters at the leagues club, which is in line for refurbishment and improved facilities thanks to the move.

CQ NRL Bid’s Jason Costigan said having a home was ticking another box in achieving their goal, as well as a good outcome for Brothers.

“Some of those numbers were terrifying and here was a way forward,” he said.

“We respect those who didn’t support the bid, and we’ll be here for them regardless – it’s still their club.”

Read more about the bid for the CQ NRL team.



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