OPINION: It should never have come to this

OPINION: How can a one-team town of more than 50,000 people be so close to being left without a club?

The crisis engulfing the Hervey Bay Seagulls is a tragedy for local rugby league.

The Seagulls were flying high in 2016.

Life members like Terry Lynch and esteemed clubmen like David Yarrow, men who have dedicated decades to the red and green machine, filled vital roles in the club.

Coach Tye Ingebrigtsen, the son of a legendary Intrust Super Cup coach whose family is involved in various aspects of rugby league, brought players and valuable sponsor dollars to the Seagulls.

After falling at the final hurdle in 2015, the Seagulls lost just one game on its way to the 2016 premiership - an unforgettable come-from-behind 20-12 victory against Waves.

What made it more incredible was that players were not paid by or on behalf of the club.

It was a year the Seagulls enjoyed the most profitable and successful year in recent time.

Now, this.

The Seagulls are at the mercy of a six-figure debt, may not participate in the Bundaberg Rugby League next year and there are question marks about the survival of the juniors.

The junior club only merged with the seniors last year and if a club loses its juniors there is almost no way back.

It should have been a move that strengthened the club and while that merger did not contribute to the current situation, it is one which junior committees of years past must look back on with bewilderment.

How could it go so wrong?

Poor decisions made since that grand final victory could effectively kill the only remaining senior rugby league club in Hervey Bay and in a town with four football clubs, two Aussie rules clubs and other growing sports, it is a heavy blow from which the sport will struggle to recover.

Tell us what you think via email: sport@frasercoastchronicle.com.au.