Wee Waa’s return to the top table of Group 4 Rugby League has been given the green light.
The Panthers return to the First Division means the top-flight will feature six teams during the 2017 season.
Wee Waa’s elevation from Second Division was signed, sealed and delivered during a special Group 4 meeting in Gunnedah on Sunday.
Panthers president Luke Combo declared his club was excited about being back at the elite level.
“It’s good news for the club and for the town,” Combo said.
“We were tossing up whether to stay in Second Division, but we wanted to move forward as a club and felt that stepping up to First Division was the way we would do that.”
David Toomey, who was at the helm of Wee Waa last year, will again be in charge of the Panthers’ fortunes.
“Dave did a top job for us last year and the numbers we’ve been getting at training are OK for this time of the season,” he said.
“We should have solid men’s and women’s teams.”
Combo, 28, has been Wee Waa’s president for the past month and said a strong off-field team had assisted in the transition from vice-president to the top job.
“We’ve got a pretty good committee which is great for the club,” he said.
The Panthers will look to write another chapter in its proud history stretching back to the late 1980s when they come up against North Tamworth Bears, Gunnedah Bulldogs, South West Robins, Narrabri Blues and Collegians Warriors in 2017.
Wee Waa has twice been crowned as the kings of Group 4.
Both titles are famous in the annals of the local rugby league scene.
The Panthers first landed the Division One title in 1992 under the guidance of former Manly and Easts prop John Harvey.
Harvey was 37 when Wee Waa sealed an 18-12 win against West Tamworth before hanging up the boots and going on to coach Gold Coast Seagulls.
The most recent premiership came in 2004 when favourite son Jamie Lyon, who had already represented NSW and Australia, left Parramatta and inspired the Panthers to a 42-10 grand final demolition of Moree.