A group of former Wiseman Park grade-one bowlers have Warilla in their sights and are united in bringing the Zone 16 Pennant flag to their new club, Towradgi.
More than 30 Wiseman Park bowlers quit the club late last year in a messy fallout to an internal dispute over the direction of bowls at the club.
At least six top bowlers - Shane Garvey, Robbie Warren, Chris Smith, Shane Pascoe, Tom Hull and Jason Cheadle - all joined Towradgi with up to 20 bowlers overall from the Gwynneville club making the six-kilometre trip north. Twenty bowlers walking out of one club to join a rival is unprecedented in Zone 16, but the new Towradgi stars are committed to building relationships at their new home.
''We're not jumping the queue,'' Pascoe said. ''We respect the members who've been here for many years and we want to get to know everyone and just fit in.''
Jackaroos Seniors representative Robbie Warren had 10 years at Wiseman Park and knows how important it is to make a good impression with their new teammates and fellow members.
''The response has been fantastic,'' he said.
''Everyone has welcomed us and it's a breath of fresh air after a difficult period. We all want success here at Towradgi and to do it in the right way and respect the culture of the club.''
Since early December, many of the top ex-Wiso's bowlers have been playing social bowls at Towradgi twice a week. The goal for all the ex-Wisos' bowlers is success at their new club.
''We want that grade-one [Pennant] flag,'' Smith said. ''We want to knock over Warilla and be the best club in the zone. Pure and simple when we play Warilla, it'll be a big day on the calendar.''
Towradgi have a number of quality bowlers including Russ Taylor, Damien Lateo, David Wakeling and Anthony Jones with the club winning back-to-back Zone 16 Fours in 2018-2019. Adding spice to Zone 16's newest major rivalry is the Gorillas recruiting ex-Wisos' stars Mick Thorne and reigning Zone Senior Singles champion Brian Suckley to strengthen an already imposing roster.
''Mick and Brian will really consolidate Warilla's front end,'' said Shane Garvey, who spent 10 years at Wiseman Park. His personal dispute with the club proved the major catalyst to the player-driven exodus.
''Our sights are on knocking them over, especially with two of our own going there. It'll be a big rivalry in Pennants for sure. ''One thing I know about Towradgi is they're a tough bunch of blokes to beat. They were always a thorn in our side at Wisos and any Towradgi player was tough and uncompromising on the green.''
All new bowlers at every club are looking forward to their 2021 Club Championships, while the Zone 16 comp begins with the Zone Pairs on January 30.