Taree City Bulls to lease Jack Neal Oval

Spectators watch the action in a Group Three Rugby League game at Taree's Jack Neal Oval.
Spectators watch the action in a Group Three Rugby League game at Taree's Jack Neal Oval.

TAREE City Bulls expect to sign a lease next week that will see the club take over responsibility for the Jack Neal Oval from Taree Leagues and Sports Club for 40 years.

The leagues club board met this week with the Bulls executive and approved the proposal.

This is the culmination of five months of negotiation between the board and the rugby league club.

"The lease will be for 20 years with an 20 year option,'' Taree City president Mal Dixon said.

The Bulls will soon apply for a State government grant of $1.5 million to upgrade facilities at the ground.

"This will include a new grandstand, lighting, canteen and fencing,'' Mr Dixon said this week.

Mr Dixon added the Bulls have the support of another of other sporting bodies in the area as the club seeks to improve facilties at the ground.

Taree City will take charge of all maintenance at the complex from the leagues club once the lease is signed. This will include the playing surface.

While general facilities at the ground are poor the playing surface is among the best in Group Three. This is currently maintained by the leagues club green keeping staff.

"We'll be speaking to the leagues club about a sponsorship package that will include maintaining the playing surface,'' Mr Dixon said.

However, if this fails to materialise Mr Dixon assured the standard of the field will not deteriorate.

"We've already had a few offers of support to help us,'' he said.

Mr Dixon has met with member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead concerning the grant application. Mr Bromhead inspected the Neal Oval in February with State minister for sport, Gabrielle Upton.

Mr Dixon will have a further meeting with Mr Bromhead once the lease is signed. He said an improved Jack Neal Oval would not be for the exclusive use of rugby league or the Taree City Bulls.

Mr Dixon pointed out that number other sporting bodies and community groups have used the oval in the past.

"It will be an asset for the Manning Valley,'' Mr Dixon said.

"We badly need a modern sporting complex here and this will be the answer.''

The Bulls have finished commitments at the Neal Oval for this season. However the ground will be the venue for the Group Three Junior Rugby League finals on Saturday  August 23.


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