Opinion: Football Qld should shoulder some Buccs blame
FOOTBALL Queensland's decision not penalise the Wide Bay Buccaneers for withdrawing their under 18 side from the competition is the right one.
I believe that FQ should be shouldering some of the blame for the situation that the Buccaneers now find itself in.
They are the people elected to run the sport with one of the highest participation rates in the state.
You would think that they would have the experience to foresee the problems that a club based in three cities would have attracting a strong enough player base.
When the Across the Waves Club knocked back the opportunity to play in the Premier League, FQ offered it to Wide Bay.
It was suggested that the locals were given limited time to accept or the opportunity to join would not be offered again for some time.
Wide Bay at the time they accepted the offer to join was under the impression that they would only have to field teams in five age groups.
FQ later changed this to seven age groups which just made the task a lot harder for Wide Bay and it meant that some young players had to play two games in a row.
Having a team in a higher state-wide competition is great for the development of the game locally.
I believe that when the game was at its strongest in Bundaberg, Across the Waves were playing in the State League in the early 1980s.
They brought top coaches and players into the area and this also attracted top players from other clubs in the area to try and make it in that league.
It also had a beneficial effect on the referees who strived to upgrade their standard so they could also participate in the State League.
Every home game saw strong teams from Brisbane and other regional areas play in front of appreciative crowds.
While they were competitive the locals were held back by the fact that a few of their marquee players were based in Brisbane. This fact meant that they very seldom trained together and therefore the teamwork was not always at it sharpest.
Football Queensland has said that it will work with the Buccaneers to solve the problems it is now facing.
It is hard to see an answer to the problems of organising teams from such a large area.
Bundaberg is 110 km from both Maryborough and Hervey Bay and the road trip takes 80 minutes.
This burden of distance is a real problem for training and as well it makes it hard to develop a strong spectator base to support the team at home games. I believe that if Football Queensland wants a team in the Wide Bay region it needs to be based in Bundaberg or Maryborough/Hervey Bay not all three cities.