Position vacant. Wanted. 20 fit young men to form a rugby league team. Jerseys, shorts, socks and full training provided. Apply Isis Devils Rugby League Club.
Just months after celebrating the club’s 50th anniversary the Childers based Isis Devils look a forlorn hope of fielding a team in the 2019 Bundaberg Rugby League competition.
The lack of player numbers is a bitter pill to swallow for club president John Cole and team captain Tim Cole.
“It really is approaching decision day regarding our ability to enter into this year’s comp. It is massively disappointing considering the success the team achieved last year,” said John.
“Making it to the grand final topped off a great year which was highlighted by the celebrations associated with our 50th year.”
John Cole, a former Isis Devils player, took over the club presidency last year and was instrumental in driving the success the team enjoyed.
Crowds had been returning to games at “The Furnace”, the club’s home grounds at the Childers Showgrounds. “Sponsorship was great, we had enough players to field very competitive A and Reserve Grade teams. It’s hard to absorb just where the players have gone,” he said.
Team captain Tim Cole, the 2017 BRL Player of the Year, has played eight years with the Devils A Grade team after also playing most of his junior football with the club.
He acknowledges that player shortage appears to be a common issue among rugby league communities.
“League, like many other codes, seems to be struggling for numbers. I really believe the sooner the Northern Districts competition is amalgamated with the Bundy comp the better it will be for the health of rugby league.
“Our club has relied on seasonal workers and players from areas like Hervey Bay and Cherbourg. Locally there just doesn’t appear to be the numbers to get a competitive side together,” said Tim.
John Cole is adamant that the club will not cobble together a sub-standard team. “I’ve seen the years where we have fielded teams that have had huge scores put on them. We won’t be going down that path again. We need to be competitive.”
The president said player numbers would again be checked at training tonight. “We have been chasing players everywhere so hopefully a few more will surface tonight,” he said.
“Next Thursday is decision day for the club. The players and club committee will ultimately make the call on our future.
“Having a local footy team is a source of pride and interest for the community and there’s nothing better as player than pulling on the club jersey and representing your town.”
“The club has taken its knocks in the past and player shortages have been overcome before. I’m sure we will bounce back from this current setback.”
The Isis Devils, during its 50 year history, has fielded teams in the Maryborough, Northern Districts and Bundaberg rugby league competitions.