It came down to the Rocky clubs and they said 'no' to Gladdy
RUGBY LEAGUE: Tannum Seagulls president Prue Hair expressed her disappointment that all four Gladstone women teams have been shunned from the extended Rockhampton competition from 2019.
Reigning premiers Tannum Seagals took out the extended competition in 2018 while Wallabys finished minor premiers at the end of the minor round.
Calliope Roosters and Gladstone Valleys were the other teams that have been shunned from the Rocky competition.
It is understood the Rockhampton clubs have voted for the Gladstone clubs not to be a part of the RRL.
Hair highlighted the development of female players in Gladstone would now be suppressed because they won't compete at the highest level in Central Queensland.
"Queensland Rugby League are going to do a Queensland development training course and two of our women have been picked in that - Krystal Sulter and Vassa Hunter," she said.
Wallaby's Savannah Pratten, sister of Jillaroos star Chelsea Baker, joins Sulter and Hunter in the Queensland Women's Development Camp.
"If they're going to continue and stake their claim to play in the Queensland representative team, they need to be in the strongest competition we have in Central Queensland," Hair said.
"That strongest competition was between us and Rockhampton combined.
"That was honestly one of the best competitions in Queensland for women."
As published in Wednesday's The Observer, Gladstone Rugby League president Richard Duff said it was 'tragic' that Gladstone would not feature in the Rocky competition.
Duff said the female talent pool in Gladstone justifies having teams from the port city.
To add insult to injury, Hair said the Seagals wouldn't have the chance to defend the premiership.
She also said the overall Gladstone women's competition would not prosper.
"The development of the game will go backwards for the women and women's league is the biggest growing sport in Australia," Hair said.
"It's not the GRL or the RRLs fault, but it's the Rockhampton clubs that have made the decision on us.
"It just disappoints us that they don't want their comp to be as strong as what it can be."
Rockhampton Rugby League president Mick Johns said reason to part with Gladstone was money.
"The cost of playing league had a big bearing and the insurance is going up every year," he said.
"It cost over $3000 to insure one side and it's just a lot of outlay."
Johns made a point that both competitions would be strong and that the final decision was difficult.
"Off course I'd still would have liked the Gladstone teams to be in it, but it was what the Rockhampton clubs wanted," he said.
"It wasn't like it was a 60-second decision and it was always going to disappoint people.
"I understand where they are coming from, but we have always supported Gladstone and they have supported us."
Wallabys' seniors manager Sarah Stewart echoed Hair's and Duff's thoughts and she said Duff and the GRL has been supportive throughout.
"Richard Duff and the GRL are being incredibly supportive and Duffy began immediately looking into other avenues for our Gladstone teams to remain playing competitively," she said.
"It's unfortunate that the Rockhampton clubs seem to forget that our two original Gladstone clubs, Wallabys and Calliope, came back from high standings in a successful Bundaberg comp to play against a developing Rockhampton team to allow them to grow the game up there.
"However Gladstone have always been resilient and we will work together positively to ensure the continued success and development of our current and upcoming representative players and enjoyment of the game for all women in our region.
"This is paramount for the growth and success of your junior girls coming through the ranks."