Deb Scanlan at Collegians ground after she was first appointed president.
Deb Scanlan at Collegians ground after she was first appointed president. Gerard Walsh

Footy club decides to put off home games to next season

RUGBY LEAGUE: The Collegians Junior Rugby League Club field at St Mark's Oval will not be re-opened for the 2019 season.

Club president Deb Scanlan said since the club was advised last August of the potential of asbestos on our field, they had taken every necessary precaution.

"All guidelines have been strictly followed," she said.

"Based on reports provided, the risk level of asbestos was extremely low. However it was agreed that the field should be resurfaced to mitigate any risk.

"Unfortunately the process to re-surface the field has taken quite a bit longer than we had anticipated. Since completion we have received clearance that the fields are now safe from that perspective."

Yesterday, Scanlan reassured all parents, players and concerned parties that asbestos is not the issue at this time.

"The issue now is that the playing surface is not quite up to the standard we require. Some defects in resurfacing have been noted and action is now being taken to rectify these.

"It was unanimously agreed that the longevity of the field and safety of the players remained our top priority. We are extremely disappointed but the decision not to return to the field this season was based on those priorities. The field will be rested until renovations start, planned for early September. We have full confidence the field will be set for kick-off in February 2020."

Queensland Rugby League operations manager Jackie Stephson covers the Warwick and District Junior Rugby League area and said when the club became aware of the asbestos issue last year they were proactive in removing the amount of soil advised by experts.

"The level of asbestos was well under safe levels but the club was proactive in removing the amount of soil for the benefit of all the players,"

She has been in regular contact with the club and stressed the reason the club was not playing games this season was the unevenness of the ground and differences in levels.

"The club is disappointed to miss home games but for the benefit of the condition of the field in the long term, games would now go ahead for the rest of this season at other venues.

With the Collegians front field not being used, there are at least five fields in the town that can be used for rugby league.

Scanlan said the club had worked closely with Southern Downs Regional Council during this process and they have been supportive.

"We have full support from QRL and WDJRL with this decision."