Cowra Eagles seek to build for the future with full suite of developments

Cowra Eagles President Ian Robertson outlines the club's plans to Mayor Bill West and the Cowra Council's Environmental Services Director Kate Alberry. Photo: Supplied

Cowra Eagles President Ian Robertson outlines the club's plans to Mayor Bill West and the Cowra Council's Environmental Services Director Kate Alberry. Photo: Supplied

Cowra Eagles club president Ian Robertson is wasting no time in the off-season, as he and the club work on a future planning agenda they believe will benefit the club and the Cowra area.

Consisting of lighting upgrades, change room redevelopment for away teams, the inclusion of a separate referee room, a new gymnasium, a new warm-up field and a fully fitted, "almost commercial standard" kitchen, the plans will significantly expand the club's event hosting abilities.

While some concessions will have to be made as part of the developments - the old clubhouse will need to be removed - several of the developments will give the club's grounds greater utility in the broader community.

The lighting upgrades will create a semi-professional standard of venue lighting, meaning the club can host Shute Shield and National Rugby Championship matches, while the gymnasium will be used to assist with boxing diversionary programs in the community and the warm-up field will also be used for Walla Rugby.

The kitchen will also allow the clubhouse to be opened up for a wide range of local events and functions.

Just as importantly, for the club, it will also allow them to keep apace with other teams in the Blowes Clothing Cup, especially as the Eagles aim to better this year's grand final teams, both of whom are based in regional centres: The Bathurst Bulldogs and Orange Emus.

We need to be able to maintain facilities so that we can attract other games to the town.

Cowra Eagles President Ian Robertson

Robertson said the reason for the development was straightforward.

"We need to be able to maintain facilities so that we can attract other games to the town and also to provide facilities for our players that are of a standard, that whilst we're not at the level of these large developments in the regional towns, it's a standard that is still acceptable for those sort of quality teams to play in," he said.

"Otherwise we're just going to get behind in terms of the quality of our infrastructure."

At the forefront of Robertson's mind was the $25 million sport precinct to be built in Orange, Mudgee's Glen Willow Sporting Complex and Dubbo's Apex Oval, as well as a range of developments in Bathurst.

"Unless we are able to maintain a level of facility that's only one out, one back from those facilities, we're going to get left behind big time, and we're not going to attract these other games," Robertson explained, also noting that after two consecutive preliminary finals he's hungry for his team to keep up with the Central West's best.

"That's what we need to do because the gap between the Blowes Clothing Cup and the other competitions, is dramatic, not only in the quality of the games, but also in distances and that needed to travel."

The club is well advanced in preparations for the building works already, with funding to be sought from existing club funds, member contributions and government grants, while work is currently underway on the kitchen.

The club is also working to find an appropriate home for heritage items from the old clubhouse, which includes walls from a WWII-era hospital.

With fundraisers for Cystic Fibrosis and the annual Camden-Cowra High School rugby league game already taking place at the venue and the potential for Shute Shield events and rugby development camps, Robertson was keen to emphasise his belief that the town at large will benefit from the end result.

"We've never restricted access to other sporting codes to use the facility if they need it," Roberson explained.

"In 2016, they played a round of league there because West Cowra [aka Sid Kallas Oval] was shut [and] the soccer club have actually held a carnival there before."

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