Financial woes force Batemans Bay out

RUGBY LEAGUE

The Batemans Bay Tigers have withdrawn their first-grade team from the Group 7 rugby league competition only days before the start of the new season.

Club president Barry Beeten blamed Tuesday's shock decision on financial problems and a lack of senior players.

The Group 7 executive has re-drafted the season draw with 10 teams still competing in the first-grade competition.

"We have had a number of players move away for work and education reasons, and we decided we can't be viable even if we bring in players from outside areas," Beeten said.

"We have spent more than we have been making since we last won the grand final [2002] and we would be compounding our problems if we continued to try and fight it.

"We came to the decision to withdraw this season, otherwise it would be next year or the year after."

Beeten said the club hoped to pay its debts by using the clubhouse for public events.

"We need to straighten it out and that starts by using the clubhouse at Mackay Park for functions and events," he said.

"To get the club back on track we need to retire some debt and start making money."

Beeten said the club's goal for this season was to have a solid business plan so the first-grade team could return next season.

The club had approached the Country Rugby League and NRL for funding but, like a lot of regional clubs facing the same battles, received none.

Beeten said coach Bill Collins remained committed to the club and would do what he could to help.

"Bill is very committed to a rebuild and agreed with the committee that we needed a larger squad," he said.

Beeten said it was not all doom and gloom for the club, with 24 under-18s squad members at Tuesday's training.

"There are a really good bunch of kids coming through," Beeten said.

A general meeting will be held on April 3 at 5.30pm and it is open to all members, players, supporters, sponsors and interested persons.

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