Seagulls future unresolved after emergency meeting

LEAGUE: The future of Hervey Bay Seagulls' junior and senior teams is still uncertain despite what was described as a postive emergency meeting on Thursday night.

Council urges community to support the embattled Seagulls

Seagulls president Jim Russell told the Chronicle more than 50 people, which included players, coaches, parents and sponsors, attended the meeting.

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The Chronicle, which was there when the Seagulls won three straight minor premierships from 2015 to 2017 and was among the scenes of euphoria when Hervey Bay broke its 15-year premiership drought with a 20-12 win against Waves Tigers on a Sunday afternoon in 2016, intended to show its support at the open meeting.

Reporters were told not to attend.

Russell said no final decision was made in regards to the club's participation in junior or senior competitions next year, and the Seagulls will seek further professional advice.

"Let me assure everyone that it is the Seagulls' aim to have both junior and senior teams playing in their respective competitions next year," Russell said.

The Seagulls' future is now in the hands of the Bundaberg Rugby League and Queensland Rugby League's Central Division.

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It came after the Chronicle revealed the sad and sorry state of the Seagulls' financial woes.

A six-figure debt has crippled the proud club, which has been home to some of the biggest names in rugby league.

The late BRL chairman Mal Breen, credited with saving local rugby league, captained the Seagulls to its first premiership in 1974 and the list of captains in the 44 years since includes local legends like former Queensland and Australian second-rower Dennis Manteit, Wayne Rasmussen, Mark Jamieson, Terry Lynch, Rod McGrath and Terry Horne.

Current Bulldogs coach Dean Pay captain-coached the Seagulls to a Group 1 premiership in 2001, the club's last title before the Tye Ingebrigtsen-led Seagulls won the BRL premiership in 2016.

Life member Terry Lynch, who dedicated decades to the Seagulls and was on the committee in 2016, could not believe how seriously bad - and how quickly - things the club's fortunes had turned.

Ingebrigtsen, who will coach in Mackay next year, was similarly disappointed.

The general meeting scheduled for Stafford Park on Thursday evening turned into a loud rally cry for supporters of the club to help determine the future of the Seagulls, which has been thrown into question after a tumultuous year.

An apology addressed to members, players, parents and sponsors was posted on the club's Facebook page on Wednesday, a message which included a call-to-arms for Seagulls supporters.

On Tuesday, the Chronicle revealed officials from the Seagulls, BRL and QRL's Central Division met at Seagulls headquarters, Torquay's Stafford Park, on Monday to hold crisis talks.

The Seagulls are in serious danger of not participating in the BRL in 2019.

The club remains unaffiliated and without a competition in which to play just months out from the start of the new season. A late audit meant its first scheduled AGM was declared invalid, which left the Seagulls without a voice at the BRL's annual general meeting in early November.



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