John Carey (Stanwell), Red Ants club patron Peter Schultz, club president Greg Pomfret, Rob Woodall and Deputy Mayor Cr Keith Campbell

April 27, 2012

Rugby League fans who attend this Saturday’s triple header of A Grade games in Kingaroy are in for a surprise when they take a look at TJ O’Neill Oval – particularly if they haven’t visited it for a while.

The ground now sports a brand new security fence, thanks to a grant of just under $30,000 from Stanwell’s Tarong Community Partnership Fund.

There’s also new ground lighting (which has increased illumination from 86 lux to 330 lux) and bore water irrigation, worth almost $150,000, courtesy of a lot of fund-raising by the Kingaroy Red Ants Rugby League Club, donations from local businesspeople and a grant from Queensland Sport and Recreation Services.

The Red Ants have also dug into club funds to finance the installation of new security lights in the ground’s car park.

And work has begun on the construction of a new three-quarter size field adjacent to the old hill area on the eastern side of the grounds.

That’s not the end of the changes … it’s expected that the South Burnett Regional Council will soon complete the bitumening of the driveway into the complex, and solar power panels – thanks to another successful grant application – will be installed on the clubhouse roof.

Speaking at a special sponsors barbecue last night, Club President Greg Pomfret said the changes had raised the ground to “semi-professional” standard, one of the few club grounds of this level outside Brisbane.

This meant it would now be capable of hosting Queensland Cup, or even pre-season NRL, games.

Greg’s also hopeful that a State of Origin training camp – which was cancelled at the last moment last year because of the floods – could now go ahead.

“Hopefully we will be able to get that back again. It would be a big asset for the town to have them here for the three days,” he said.

Stanwell representatives said they were proud to a be a part of the upgrades at the ground.

“The Club will now be able to bid and attract high profile sporting events to the district,” Tarong Power Station Maintenance Manager Rob Woodall said.

“It is important to our community that every opportunity is taken to support developments like this one as they create many flow-on benefits to local businesses and other communities in the South Burnett.

“The Tarong Community Partnership Fund is delighted to be able to support the South Burnett community and we look forwards to continuing our partnerships well into the future.”

The new fencing will help to protect the Club’s assets, including the clubhouse and toilet block, from vandalism and prevent golfers, campers and hoons in cars from damaging the turf.

Greg Pomfret is particularly proud of the grass surface … which has been levelled and has a very high “rebound” rate, which lessens the chance of injuries.

The facility is not only used by rugby league; the South Burnett Rugby Union, touch footballers  – and possibly, soon, softballers – also use the ground.

As well as thanking Stanwell, the South Burnett Regional Council and Sports and Recreation Services, Greg also reserved special thanks for former Red Ants Nathan Prayne and Grant Calvert, and Chook’s Mini Bobcat Hire, who donated their services to install the irrigation.

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