THE relaunched Applecross Mt Pleasant Jets Rugby Club may still move to Kwinana despite being thrown a lifeline by Melville councillors.
The club started looking at a cross-border move after being told by the council’s admin it couldn’t play at its historic home ground on Shirley Strickland Reserve next year and should look into amalgamating with another team instead.
But with three senior teams and one junior team ready to get kitted up, councillor Steve Kepert asked CEO Shayne Silcox to have a rethink and find the Jets some local turf.
President Cody McColl says the Jets’ connection to Shirley Strickland stretches back to 1956, and while the club’s been dormant since 2005 the decision to redevelop the reserve to cater for junior footy was a bitter blow.
On Wednesday evening he was heading to Kwinana for talks about whether there’s a suitable venue there.
“The option that we were given was to share Webber Reserve with Willagee Rugby League Club,” Mr McColl said.
“Now you can’t have two clubs playing on one field at the same time. It’s unprofessional and the facilities can’t handle it.
“That was our option, or to move out of the City of Melville.”
Cr Kepert’s motion asks the CEO to have a rethink about whether there’s room at Shirley Strickland for the Jets, or whether space could be found at Gairloch Reserve, Tompkins Park or any of the council’s other parks.
Mr McColl says he can’t understand why Melville was so quick to write them off when the reserve’s redevelopment isn’t scheduled until after the 2018 season.
“So we’d have a year to play there, sign off from the ground and basically find somewhere to go, but they wouldn’t even give us that.
“Just a stone cold ‘no.’ ”
Despite that, Mr McColl says he’s quietly confident that the Jets will be back at Shirley Strickland next year.
Dr Silcox says because of the Jets’ prolonged hibernation, they weren’t considered during a recent consultation over the future of the reserve.
“The Applecross Mount Pleasant Rugby League Club it is not considered an active club but in fact a new club that wishes to use City of Melville facilities,” Dr Silcox told the Herald.
“Any new club requesting use of City of Melville sporting reserves… are encouraged to amalgamate with existing clubs that have capacity to absorb new members,” he says.
“The city’s preference is for an amalgamation between the Willagee Bears Rugby League Club and the Applecross Mount Pleasant Rugby League Football Club.
Dr Silcox says the Bears’ and Jets’ “relatively low” joint membership of 150 is around half that of the new junior AFL club moving onto Shirley Strickland.
The Jets will have to wait until the new year to learn their final fate, with the council’s report on the suitability of the other venues set to be finalised in early 2018.
by EMILEE NEESON