Excitement builds ahead of new futsal competition
BUNDABERG Wildcats players are itching to take to the court in their first match of the inaugural South East Queensland Futsal Premier League.
The six-team competition is a massive boost to the game's growth in Bundaberg.
The league will feature a focus on junior development underpinning senior competitions with age groups including 12, 14, 16 boys, youth men (17-19), open men, 14, 16 girls, and open women.
The Wildcats will feature a team in each division except youth men.
Open men's and U16 boys coach Lucas Read said all the players were eager to play.
"We used to have to go to Brisbane every week and now it's a home-and-away format,” he said
"That makes it easier on us and everyone has to share the travel.”
Four Brisbane-based teams and a Sunshine Coast team make up the rest of the competition.
Each division will be played in a home-and-away format for a total of 10 matches before a finals weekend is held in early February 2017.
The league is designed to add to the likes of the Futsal State Titles in strengthening Queensland's pathway to the Puma F-League, Australia's premier futsal competition.
South Brisbane, the only club with Puma F-League experience, is expected to be the team to beat across the league's senior age groups having competed at national level since 2013.
FQ Futsal administrator Trevor Edwards believes the competition will elevate the game's status in Queensland.
"I am excited about the SEQ Futsal Premier League and the opportunity it provides futsal players to compete at a high level more consistently throughout the summer season,” Edwards said.
Read says the Bundaberg junior teams would develop quicker as they played consistently against strong competition and came up against different styles.
"With juniors there is always interest,” he said.
"But until Bundaberg Futsal gets its own facilities it remains at a standstill because there are no more available courts.”
The Wildcats will call Norville State School their home and Read hopes the Bundaberg community will come out and experience the exciting sport.
Wildcats first opponents are Redlands City. The action starts from 10am with the open women's team playing at 2pm and men's at 3.15pm.