THE identity of a sporting team is their home ground, a place to proudly display their history and boast about their accomplishments.

Supporters can read about the hurdles and even the low points and how their club came about.

The Gympie Hammers are being denied this identity, as they do not have a permanent home ground.

The Gympie Times sports reporter Bec Singh at Albert Park.
The Gympie Times sports reporter Bec Singh at Albert Park.

Ask any sports fan and they will explain the importance of their home turf, a place for your fans to shout your team’s chant, donning the team colours proudly with a beer in hand.

Last week, the North Queensland Cowboys unveiled their bronze statue to immortalise club legend Johnathan Thurston.

The bronze statue of Johnathan Thurston has been unveiled at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. JT with his daughters Frankie 6, Charlie 4, Lillie 3 and Remie 1. Picture: Alix Sweeney
The bronze statue of Johnathan Thurston has been unveiled at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. JT with his daughters Frankie 6, Charlie 4, Lillie 3 and Remie 1. Picture: Alix Sweeney

As a Cowboys fan I remember the moment when JT kicked that field goal in 2015 to secure our first grand final win and in his victory speech he mentioned the need for the Cowboys to get a new stadium.

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While the Hammers are in a slightly different position, it is equally important for them to have a home ground to celebrate the highs and share their stories of the past.

I moved to Gympie about two years ago and in that time I have seen what president Jason McPherson has achieved.

Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club – Gympie Hammers president Jason McPherson. Photo: Bec Singh
Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club – Gympie Hammers president Jason McPherson. Photo: Bec Singh

The Hammers growth in that time has been nothing short of incredible, with their under-15, under-16 and under-17 age groups and having the junior players within the club.

In 2018 they had a men’s reserve and women’s side and Macca explained how he wanted the club to expand, not just with juniors but having a Hammers A-grade men’s side.

The club is close to reaching that goal with the juniors and are in prime position for an A-grade squad.

Gympie Hammers rugby union club juniors (back, from left) Kellen Donoghue, Tayla Vogelpoel, Jack Downward and (front) Hudson Donoghue. Photo: Troy Jegers.
Gympie Hammers rugby union club juniors (back, from left) Kellen Donoghue, Tayla Vogelpoel, Jack Downward and (front) Hudson Donoghue. Photo: Troy Jegers.

With so much growth in numbers, it is hard to believe the club has no home turf.

They have nowhere to proudly show their fans and sport lovers like myself about how the Hammers were single-handedly resurrected from extinction by the man who leads them today or about how the club was started.

Where can Hammers show-off their women’s Roma 7s win or Allie Salter making the Queensland Reds development squad or Ryan Gottke and Brae McAllister playing for the Sunshine Coast Stingrays?

Gympie Hammers women's Roma 7s side – (back, from left) Sez Collins, Taylor Bell, Ella Findlay, Teah Nugent, Annalise Grott, Peta Dray, Georgina Hajje, Lily Steel and Glenn Gamble (coach). (front) Dillyn Blackburn, Caitlin Urwin, Jemma Lee, Paris Petersen and Allie Salter.
Gympie Hammers women's Roma 7s side – (back, from left) Sez Collins, Taylor Bell, Ella Findlay, Teah Nugent, Annalise Grott, Peta Dray, Georgina Hajje, Lily Steel and Glenn Gamble (coach). (front) Dillyn Blackburn, Caitlin Urwin, Jemma Lee, Paris Petersen and Allie Salter.

It is not just the club’s players, fans and volunteers who are suffering, it is the club’s identity.

How long can this go on for?

We are a nation that loves sport and if this is how we treat a sporting club, how can we even proudly say that?

Gympie Times


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