The Penrith Emus have been sensationally axed from the Shute Shield competition effective immediately.
It is a major blow for the club and to rugby union in western Sydney.
It’s understood Sydney Rugby Union officials told the club this morning that it was out of the competition with the Emus to be replaced in the draw with a bye for the rest of the season.
The Emus were formed in 1965 and entered the Shute Shield competition in 1995. Its banishment from the competition puts the club on the ropes and at risk of folding.
Sydney Rugby Union President David Begg said Penrith’s failure to meet a number of preconditions set down during the pre-season was behind today’s decision.
“The Sydney Rugby Union Board has taken comprehensive steps to provide every available opportunity for Penrith Rugby Union Club to remain in the Sydney Premiership competition,” he said.
“However, the Club’s inability to meet the standards set for all Clubs to compete at the Premiership level has resulted in them being withdrawn from the competition.”
Mr Begg said long standing issues around governance, safety, finances and the wellbeing of players played a part in the decision.
“We are working closely with New South Wales Rugby Union to support the individual players impacted by this, to ensure they have other avenues available to them to remain in rugby,” he said.
The Emus are yet to win a game this season and have been thrashed in their opening four matches of the year.
Why is our great game struggling? Do our managers have a vision? Well there are now over one hundred young men in Penrith who won’t be playing rugby next weekend, or maybe ever. Now that’s vision. What a disgrace.
— Penrith Emus (@emus_penrith) April 30, 2018
Emus President Jim Hook has been contacted for comment but is unreachable at this stage.