Merger vanishes like a Ghost
By TONY WHITE
A PROPOSAL to amalgamate the Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels rugby league clubs into a single entity next season has been crash tackled.
In a secret ballot on Monday night, the Ghosts' committee voted 9-8 against the proposal going to an extraordinary meeting of its general membership.
The Rebels committee agreed unanimously in July to allow its members to vote on merging the two clubs.
"The committee voted not to take the matter any further," Ghosts president Michael Rogan said yesterday.
"The people that voted didn't think it was a viable proposition at this stage.
"However, the general consensus was the idea hasn't been completely thrown out the window.
"In 12 months, two years or at a later date it might be worth revisiting it again."
Rogan said cordial discussions took place for just over an hour before a vote was taken.
"Several questions were asked, like who was available to run the new club and other matters," he said.
"The vote was done in the right manner, it was proper. The full committee were the only ones who voted."
One of the pre-vote discussions surrounded negotiations with the Country Rugby League to fund a coach for the amalgamated club. It was then revealed the Ghosts have already signed a new captain-coach from Group 11 next season.
Rogan addressed the club's players at training last night informing them of the latest developments and seeking commitment for next season.
Repercussions at committee level and possible sponsorship fallout is expected following the split vote not to let the Ghosts' general membership decide the club's future.
"Bloody blinkered vision," one disappointed committee member said of the decision.
Rebels president Janita Cooper said yesterday the Grafton committee's decision was 'disappointing'.
"I was sort of annoyed, more disappointed. I can't understand why they didn't at least give the members a vote on the proposal.
"It was a good proposal. I thought they would have at least given their members the chance."
Cooper said persistent rumours the Rebels would fold next season are wide of the mark.
"There is no way that will happen, we'll fight to the bitter end," she said.
"We had a plan B in mind if the amalgamation didn't go through and now it hasn't we'll start looking towards the future.
"We're already talking to potential first graders and we'll see where we get to. I'm hopeful we can field three grades next season.
"New players and sponsors are our main aim at this stage."