FOR the first time in almost 10 years, Laurieton will have a first grade rugby league team to support in 2017.
It has been five years since the town has been represented in any grade, although the final tick of approval still has to come from the Country Rugby League.
Hastings League president Corey Richardson was hopeful the CRL would make the right decision.
“Laurieton is a big area that deserves a football team,” he said.
“Some time down the track we could end up having three local teams in the Group 3 competition.”
Richardson felt the excitement which emanated from the positive news would flow down and ensure more players returned to the game.
“Numbers seem to be dying in country rugby league, but a new team brings with it a bit of resilience,” he said.
“Any growth in rugby league in that area is a positive because there are a lot of other sports we have to compete against.
“They’ve been getting eaten alive by Aussie rules in the last couple of years.”
The Stingrays major sponsor will be the Laurieton Hotel and licensee Glenn Knight was elated that the push for a new local team had been supported.
It’s the first time a Laurieton team has played in the Hastings League competition and so far around 25 players have registered their interest to play with the Stingrays.
“They are players not registered to play with any other rugby league team, which means we won’t be taking players from other clubs,” Knight said.
“There are a number of players keen to get back on the field, who haven’t played since Camden Haven Eagles folded prior to the 2014 Group 3 competition season.
“They have been talking in their own networks to start a team for the Hastings League for a couple of years and approached me for support. The push has grown since then and a number of other people have gotten behind it.
“We think Laurieton should have a senior rugby league team to follow. I think a new team is also positive for the Hastings League competition. Local derby games should attract strong crowds and a bit of passionate rivalry between Camden Haven teams.”
Local business owner Scott Parker and former players Kieren Roberts and Brett Farnsworth have been among the supporters of the Stingrays. Farnsworth is likely to be the coach, Parker possibly the president.
“Brett coached the Eagles under 18s and just loves his footy; he’s keen to get back into it,” Knight said.
The next step for the club is to formalise a committee and grounds staff for the home field at Laurieton Oval and seek sponsors.
“We’re looking for as much community support as possible,” Knight said.