Town can support two teams say Ghosts
By Tim Howard
THE Grafton Ghosts Rugby League Football Club president Michael Rogan believes Grafton can support two rugby league clubs and sees no need for a merger next season with the South Grafton Rebels.
Rogan said recent reports of the activities of a pro-merger group in both the Ghosts and Rebels camps had ignored the plans the Ghosts committee have put in place for 2007.
"The club has plans in place for a much more competitive Ghosts club in 2007," Rogan said.
"We put these plans in place half way through the year, before this merger thing took off."
Rogan said the club was still in negotiation with Group 11 coach Damian Connor, despite press reports he had turned his back on the Clarence.
"Damian Connor hasn't rung me up to tell me he's not interested in coaching here next year," Rogan said.
"From his resume, he's just what this club needs.
"And if he decides not to come, we're talking with a couple of Group 2 players ? not players who have left from here ? who could do the job for us."
Rogan claimed the Ghosts have paid off the majority of the club's debts, putting the club in a sound financial position to pursue its plans for next season.
However, he has not ruled out a merger with the Rebels, maybe as early as 2008.
"There's no way I am saying a that it (a merger) is never going to happen," he said.
"But it's got to be done properly.
Rogan said the Ghosts committee was not happy with the progress a steering committee looking into the merger had made.
He said the group could not present a concrete plan of how the merged club would operate in 2007.
"We were unhappy with what they presented, and there was no way we were going to proceed," he said.
"It's a big thing to fold two rugby league clubs and form a new one.
"The Ghosts didn't need to go there and we've got things in place for 2007.
"The thing I ask is: if the shoe was on the other foot, would they (the Rebels) be so keen to go ahead with a merger?"
Rogan said the Ghosts committee and some supporters dug in their heels when 100 people tried to join the club in recent weeks.
He said the committee was within its rights to reject their membership applications when their only intention was to vote the club out of existence.
"That wasn't right and a lot of people have come to me saying that they supported the merger, but not those sort of tactics."
"They're telling me they don't like the direction it's all going in."
Rogan said Grafton Ghosts supporters should take heart from the positive steps the Ghosts committee have taken toward putting a competitive outfit on the paddock in 2007.
"There's a lot of talented young footballers in the club," he said.
"Our Under-18s made the semi-finals this year and with the addition of some experience next year we'll be able to put a competitive team together."
nIN other club news Rogan said the club would hold its senior presentation night on October 14 at the Grafton City Services Bowling Club.
He also congratulated the Grafton Redmen for winning the Far North Coast Rugby Union premiership and in particular captain coach Gary Powell, who was a reserve for in the Ghosts 2002 grand-final winning team.