THE immediate future of the Dubbo Rhinos was the topic of an emergency meeting called by the club and attended by Central West Rugby Union (CWRU) officials last night.
The meeting was held to discuss a raft of issues, primarily a lack of numbers just a month out from the start of the 2013 Blowes Clothing Cup competition.
A possible move to the Australian National Field Days (ANFD) Cup competition was also to be discussed.
Under the Blowes Clothing Cup’s new format, clubs competing in the competition are required to ensure they have first grade, second grade and colts sides on the field each week, with third grade an optional choice which the Rhinos took up when nominating teams.
However the apparent defection of multiple players to another club has put a drain on the Rhinos numbers, with the issue coming to a head last night.
“I think it would be fair to say we are evaluating a couple of things and we want to discuss them with Central West Rugby,” Rhinos president Rob Albouze said yesterday.
“Under the format we need to be assured we can meet our requirements and the meeting will be used as a chance to see where we stand.
“We have commitments to our sponsors, to our fans and to our players and it might be a case where we look to take a step back in order to take a step forward.”
CWRU chief executive Peter Veenstra confirmed he would attend the meeting, along with a pair of other board members.
He said he was hopeful of achieving a positive outcome but would wait to see what the Rhinos put forward.
“There is a guideline that clubs have to meet in order to play in the Blowes Clothing Cup and the Rhinos are obviously considering their future,” Veenstra said.
“It’s good that they have come to us with their concerns because this way they can be addressed and we can hopefully reach an outcome which is favourable for everyone involved.
“It’s far more preferable to find a solution now than to get into the season and be faced with forfeits.”
Albouze was keen to point out that regardless of last night’s outcome, the current situation isn’t the death of the Rhinos club.
He also believes his isn’t the only club facing pressure.
“I believe there’s two other clubs in a similar position to us but we are the first ones to come forward and try to sort the problem out,” he said.
“Our resources have been drained by another club poaching our players and we don’t want a repeat of 2009 when we were getting belted every week.
“It’s far more preferable for everyone to have us go back to ANFD Cup and play there rather than get flogged every week if we are having to play guys that would normally be in second grade up in the top grade, and if that has to happen for the betterment of the club, then so be it.
“At the moment we probably don’t have the depth and quality for Blowes Clothing Cup but we have too many players for ANFD Cup so we have to speak with the CWRU and see if we can come up with the best outcome.
“But I won’t be the one having this club go under while I’m in charge of it.
“If we’re not in the top grade we will still be competitive in a lower competition.”