New women's competition heading in right direction
AUSSIE RULES: AFL Wide Bay says the women's competition is on track after a successful Lightning Carnival on Saturday
History was created in Maryborough when six women's sides came together to play a few exhibition matches ahead of the AFL Wide Bay women's season proper, which starts this weekend.
The aim of the carnival was to see how the sides shaped up heading into the new season and to give the women an introduction to the game.
Bundaberg sides Brothers Bulldogs and The Waves were involved alongside Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Bay Power and the Sunshine Coast's Hinterland Blues.
"It exceeded our expectations of what we thought would happen," AFL Wide Bay president Anthony Stoddard said.
"Four teams had over 20 players make the trip.
"Two teams, Maryborough and The Waves, had between 13 and 14 players."
Stoddard said despite the weather there were some strong skills on display from players who had never played the game before.
"The wet weather didn't help. It was wet most of the day," he said.
"This interrupted the skills but it was still good.
"The whole day was about giving the girls experience, which is what we saw."
One side that didn't make the carnival was Gympie.
The Cats pulled out of the event late last week because of a lack of players.
Stoddard said this wasn't a concern for AFL Wide Bay and Gympie was still on track to play Maryborough at Six Mile Oval this weekend.
"Last Thursday they assured us they will be right for round one," he said.
"I haven't heard anything since then that has changed that."
Stoddard said if the side did pull out of the competition, the board would need to discuss what to do with the draw.
He confirmed it would be likely that a bye would be given to the side that was meant to face Gympie in that round.
AFL Wide Bay also confirmed what would happen if teams couldn't field enough players.
All games will have two teams of 16 players on the ground at one stage with players on the bench.
If a side doesn't have 16 players in the team, the opposition will provide players to make the squads even.
So if Brothers Bulldogs have 14 players and The Waves had 22, four players would move from The Waves to the Bulldogs to give each side 18 players.
The Waves would also have to switch the four players with another four in each quarter, to make it fair.
"It's written in the rules and for us it is to make sure everyone participates in the game," Stoddard said.
"It's important for the competition that everyone is included."
The season starts on Saturday when The Waves take on Brothers at Frank Coulthard Oval.