They are intent on doing all they can to have a team in the competition, and now, the Albury Thunder’s proposed bid to join the NSW Cup has increased, following a meeting last night at Greenfield Park, that saw more than 50 people in attendance to support the bid.
Rick O’Connell, the club president, and bid Spokesman Michael Eden, will meet with both Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy and Storm Chief Executive Ron Gauci, to discuss the possibility of the Thunder becoming the official feeder team for the club.
The meeting, one that was attended by both O’Connell and Eden, also had other key figures present – with Country Rugby League’s Operations Manager Robert Lowrie present, as well as Region Manager, David Skinner.
With a certain criteria needed for a country based area to house a NSW Cup team, Lowrie says that the Albury region is one of very few country areas, that have both the sufficient numbers as well as support networks, to support a team in the NSW Cup.
â€œProvided it has the backing of an NRL club such as the Melbourne Storm Iâ€™d say this area has what it takes,â€ Lowrie said.
â€œThere is 60-odd people here tonight, I reckon itâ€™s a great sign.â€
With the questions coming left, right and centre about the sustained interest of a potential NSW Cup team in the long-term, as well as financial questions – at the end of the meeting, the response was overwhelming. The majority raised their hand in favour of a NSW Cup team.
O’Connell, who was hoping for a big turnout so that the meeting with the Storm could take place as planned, was blown away by the number in attendance. .
â€œI was very encouraged by the number of people here, the questions asked and the interest shown,â€ he said.
â€œIt gives us a little bit of momentum going into (todayâ€™s) meeting.â€
With the sudden progression of their bid, O’Connell also admits that there are a good number of things that have to be considered, before anything is made official.
â€œItâ€™s happened much quicker than weâ€™ve had time to formulate,â€ he said.
â€œBefore anything happens we definitely need the support of the Melbourne Storm, Group 9, Group 20, possibly some Melbourne clubs, Victorian Rugby League, Albury Council and the community.
â€œItâ€™s easy to get lost in the euphoria of such a decision and how great it would be.
â€œWe really need to do our research and put a model in place thatâ€™s going to ensure that if the concept gets off the ground it works.â€