AFTER a year without first grade or reserve grade teams in Group Seven, the Batemans Bay Tigers’ members agreed a move to Group 16 would be the best way for the club to field men’s teams next season.
The Tigers have spent the past 36 years in the Shoalhaven-Nowra based competition and if the club's loan to the Far South Coast competition is approved, it could revive rivalries with clubs such as Moruya and Narooma.
On August 31, 54 people attended the club’s AGM which was chaired by regional manager of Greater Southern Region, Kevin Felgate.
Felgate, on behalf of Country Rugby League (CRL), went through the club’s financial situation and recognised the difficulty the Tigers would have to field a team in Group Seven next season.
Up to 90 per cent of the meeting agreed it was not viable to play and a move to the group it left in 1970 was the best way forward.
“CRL is under no disillusion of the club’s debt and it would like to thank the outgoing committee in a very difficult year,” Felgate said.
Felgate said the club was headed in the right direction and encouraged members to rally around its fundraising efforts and five upcoming events.
CRL and the Tigers will inform Group Seven of the club’s intentions and Felgate said the club could “expect a reply within a week”.
If Group Seven permits, the Bay will apply to Group 16 and wait until the zone’s AGM for final approval.
New Tigers’ president Bob Mitchell said the club could not compete against fellow Group Seven sides when it was in debt and have to apply to move to survive.
“It’s a very strong group, there is more travelling than Group 16 and players want x amount of dollars which is something way above us,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said the club had touched base with Group 16’s committee and he received positive feedback.
“We’ve spoken with the powers that be and they are more than willing to have us there,” he said.
“It will be a struggle to be competitive instantly and we won’t be strong while we rebuild.
“I am sure we can get there in the long-term.”
Matt Cross will be the head coach and Mitchell was encouraged by the combination of his knowledge and experience and the numbers of juniors moving to senior ranks.
“It could take us two or three years to hit our straps but there are young guys coming through the under 18s,” Mitchell said.
Three new faces joined Mitchell on the club’s committee.
John Boller was named senior vice-president, Trinity Malinski as secretary and Katrina Drew was elected assistant treasurer.
Joe O’Sullivan retained his position as treasurer.
The new committee praised Felgate’s presence of mind in a difficult situation detailing the processes the club could take.
“We were pretty impressed with the way Kevin handled the meeting,” Mitchell said.
The under 18s presentation night is at Mackay Park on September 6 starting at 6pm.