Ricky England at the official opening of the new Nerimbera Football Club clubhouse.
Ricky England at the official opening of the new Nerimbera Football Club clubhouse. Chris Ison ROK121116cnerimbera2

The club that rose from the ashes of Marcia

FOOTBALL: Nerimbera Magpies wore the brunt of Cyclone Marcia more than most.

At 106 years old, the mighty Magpies are the oldest football club in Central Queensland, yet for a year and a half, were essentially left homeless.

Marcia's infamous devastation of their entire clubhouse and grounds had the club on its knees. And reeling.

"We could easily have folded, yeah,” club president Ricky England said looking back.

"We couldn't play games here at Pilbeam Park for 18 months and had no money coming into the club. Nothing at all.”

Nerimbera Soccer club lots its roof during Cyclone Marcia. 
Photo Sharyn O'Neill / Morning Bulletin
Nerimbera Soccer club lots its roof during Cyclone Marcia. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK210215smarcia1

But at 2pm on Saturday, the club that stood officially 're-opened', with past and present players and distinguished guests celebrating its return.

"It has been a massive project,” England said.

"Back when the cyclone hit, the clubhouse was totally destroyed and we had to start again.

"I remember going into the board meeting thinking what the hell are we going to do?

"But the committee rolled up their sleeves and dug deep. The community support has been awesome. So many sponsors got on board and we have been able to survive.”

L-R Sterling McQuire, Angela Blomfield, Ricky England and Peter Allenby at the official opening of the new Nerimbera Football Club clubhouse.
L-R Sterling McQuire, Angela Blomfield, Ricky England and Peter Allenby at the official opening of the new Nerimbera Football Club clubhouse. Chris Ison ROK121116cnerimbera1

Complete with a bar, function room, commercial kitchen and hall, England estimated the re-build alone cost $400,000.

A sizeable sum but can you put a price on the camaraderie it will bring?

"Our women's and thirds teams have done very well but our firsts and seconds teams have done it tough the last few seasons, and I have no doubt the cyclone affected this,” the three decade clubman said.

"Just having a proper place to socialise and bond after games will really help bring that energy back.

"Previously we have great get-togethers after games and have a great time. But there was a split of late.

"The club deserves to have a chance to get back to where we belong.”



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