‘Just not right’: Women’s rugby left homeless in Gympie
GYMPIE'S girls rugby union players are facing a season without a home as the fight for field space at Albert Park continues.
Hammers president Jason McPherson said the club was forced to cancel last night’s planned home game and send the teams to Maroochydore instead.
McPherson has been fighting for field space at Albert Park for two years.
The fields are primarily used by Gympie Junior Rugby League, which had more than 340 members in 2019 and also uses Jack Stokes Oval.
GJRL president Jeff Cranston said in March there was not enough field space in the city to handle sports’ growth.
At the time, McPherson had been seeking four nights in the year for the women’s Hammers to host games.
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Thanks to the COVID outbreak this was whittled down to one.
Now even that game has been taken away after an accord between the Hammers, GJRL, and the GRA (who have a management lease with Gympie Regional Council) could not be reached.
McPherson still hoped to secure one Friday home fixture for the girls this season but it was not guaranteed.
Without it players would have to head down the coast for every game in the season, a prospect McPherson said left many questioning if it was worth it.
“Some players are saying if we can’t get a home game, they won’t play,” he said.
“Why travel for 10 weeks down to the coast to play?
“It’s just not right.”
Other weeknights were not an option, as the Sunshine Coast competition, which the Hammers are part of, plays on Friday nights.
Nor was packing up for Kandanga, which could only offer one of the two lit fields the Hammers needed.
McPherson said the Hammers were working with Gympie Regional Council to find a solution.
Mayor Glen Hartwig said the council had done “everything we can to try to resolve the issue”.
“At this stage the GRA has lease to manage the park,” he said.
Regardless of this year’s outcome, McPherson said was still exploring how the problem can be avoided next year.
“We’ve got to start looking now at how that’s scheduled,” he said.