WE'RE BACK: The Maryborough Bears will be back in the top senior Aussie Rules competition in Wide Bay next year. Pictured are reserve grade players Jarrod Stothard (left) and Ben Brown (right) with coach Russell Green.
WE'RE BACK: The Maryborough Bears will be back in the top senior Aussie Rules competition in Wide Bay next year. Pictured are reserve grade players Jarrod Stothard (left) and Ben Brown (right) with coach Russell Green. Alistair Brightman

The Maryborough Bears are coming back

AUSSIE RULES: Sometimes it is better to be alone.

AFL Wide Bay will experience that feeling again next season after making the decision to split from the QFA Wide Bay Sunshine Coast competition that ran for just this year's season.

Next year, the association will run its own competition with five teams in seniors, including Bundaberg sides The Waves Eagles and Brothers Bulldogs.

The Fraser Coast will now have three sides with the addition of the Maryborough Bears to senior competition for the first time since 2012.

They join Bay Power and the Hervey Bay Bombers.

"We're pretty proud to see them back in the competition,” AFL Wide Bay president Mark Mason said.

"They have good structures in place and it's fantastic to see them make the step up.”

The side is also expected to field a reserves outfit with the seniors side.

The Bears returning is one of the reasons why the competition reverted back to a Wide Bay set-up.

"We have the growth in the competition to go at it alone,” Mason said.

"The clubs also found it hard with travelling.

"They struggled to field teams with their sides playing in different locations during the same week. We want to change that.”

This isn't the end of the Sunshine Coast concept entirely, according to Mason.

"There will still be cross conference matches between them,” he said.

"They will still be for points and count towards the competition.”

The only difference is these teams won't qualify for the finals, like they did this year.

The finals format for the new competition hasn't been decided yet.

It is expected to be ratified and announced before next season.

It could be the same as 2015 with three sides involved or expand to four with the addition of the new team.

Mason said there were also other announcements in the pipeline for the competition, to be revealed soon.

The new competition is expected to start in April.



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