BUCCS NO MORE: Side is gone from seniors
FOOTBALL: "I don't see this is as a failure position, I see this as a step forward.”
Wide Bay Buccaneers president Stuart Taylor firmly believes the decision from Football Queensland allows the club build a culture that will lead to success in seniors in the future.
The Football Queensland Premier League side was officially withdrawn from the competition in under-18s, under-20s and open men on Tuesday night after struggling to find players for the upcoming season.
The NewsMail can reveal the club only had between 14 and 16 players signed up for all three age groups leading into the season start next month.
The Buccaneers will now field team in juniors in under-13, under-14, under-15 and under-16, with the competition starting almost three weeks ago.
Football Queensland has allowed the team to build back into seniors by 2021 by fielding an under-18 team first next year before fully putting in three teams in two seasons time.
Taylor said the decision wasn't disappointing, in fact the club had been calling for it since it acquired the license from Football Queensland in 2017.
"When we put the application in for the license in 2017, we said for sustainable growth the focus had to be in our juniors,” he said.
"Football Queensland had determined that we needed to put seven teams in our first year, which we did but it came at a cost.
"The 18s in the end had to pull out.”
Taylor said the lack of players in seniors was down to two reasons, the first being none were already connected to the club when they began and the second coming from not being able to recruit players from Wide Bay Premier League clubs.
"It was our biggest challenge we had (attracting them),” he said.
"Senior men currently are emotionally connected to clubs (in WBPL) and have been since they were five or six years old.
"They've built a relationship with that club and they don't want to move because they have friends and know the club well.”
Taylor said the goal now was to create their own identity from the juniors currently at the club and turn them into seniors.
"We're working on a program that will build to us fielding an under-18 side next year, start on that is immediate,” he said.
"We'll be building up under-16 an under-17 to get them ready.
"It's all about development and getting them rep ready.”
Taylor said the Buccaneers management would talk to the seniors still at the club about keeping them on board until they can play again.
The president added there were options currently being discussed to make sure the seniors can play competitive matches this season.
But he understood some might want to return to their Wide Bay Premier League clubs.
"We want to develop the players we've got,” Taylor said.
"Whatever we offer we need it to suit their needs.
"We need to in whatever time we spend out of the FQPL keep the squad together somehow and encourage others to join.”
The junior Buccaneers will be in action this weekend taking on the Ipswich Knights.