Brisbane focus upsets APL club
RE-ELECTED Western Pride chairman Kym Wickstein has been impressed by the numbers and standard of players trialling for next year's Australian Premier League state competition.
However, he's adamant the recently formed Pride franchise will field only one team in each grade from under-12 to open level.
Three Brisbane clubs have requested each APL syndicate enter two teams in each division to accommodate their extra playing numbers.
"We've been vehemently opposed to that,'' Wickstein said after the latest Football Ipswich AGM at Ebbw Vale.
"We believe that would dilute the player strength in our feeder clubs.
"It (extra teams) is not going to happen at Western Pride. That got resounding support from all clubs at the AGM.''
Football Ipswich, representing the major regional clubs, runs the Western Pride franchise.
Wickstein retained his leadership role on the executive, with vice-chairman Todd Hunt and secretary Wendy Spencer.
Former vice-chairman James Buchanan has become operations manager, forming a vital link between the executive, feeder clubs and teams. He'll also oversee game day needs.
The executive will continue to work with Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle.
"The clubs are happy with the direction that we are going,'' Wickstein said.
However, Wickstein said that direction did not include a second APL team in each age group or playing teams in a new zonal structure in East Brisbane, North Brisbane and South Brisbane.
"We're not going to be part of it,'' the chairman said.
"The application was one team per age group and we've done our financial plan, our budgets and our whole submission based on that premise, and we're not going to steer away from that.
"We have got a strategy in place that was agreed to by everybody that we will have a bye or forfeit those games against those second teams (should that happen).
"We will advise the Football Federation of Australia the reasons why an elite club is forfeiting games.''
Wickstein said other APL clubs outside the Brisbane area were also focused on providing one quality team in each division.
However, Wickstein said the addition of an under-20 team next season was welcome.
"We had 36 under-18 players trial last night and we know there's six boys away on schoolies,'' Wickstein said.
"The standard is pretty high.
"The player strength was that good that we're not going to advertise for under-20s. We're going to fill that from the under-18s.
"It's all about development of the younger players anyway.
"It's really pleasing to see the kids coming back to play in Ipswich. On average, we're getting 35-40 per age group.''