Bulls work on next champion team after losing gun side
THE Ipswich City Bulls will continue their vital football development role after losing their premiership-winning women's senior side this season.
After building a quality combination that won last year's Brisbane Women's Premier League (BWPL) grand final, Bulls officials had to withdraw their top team from the 2021 competition.
Bulls club president Todd Zeidler said it was "unfortunate'' to break up a formidable team after such a fantastic season.
However, key Bulls representatives were offered higher level opportunities with teams in National Premier Leagues Women's (NPLW) competitions.
"We didn't get the NPL spot and we lost 14 players and two coaches,'' Zeidler said.
In what is effectively a catch-22 situation, the Bulls have been developing fine players, only to forgo them to other clubs.
Female co-ordinator Liz Ridley had played a major role in that development.
"We've had a good probably last three years but unfortunately it's a little bit like (Western) Pride had when they had all those good years and then everyone gets poached,'' Zeidler said.
"Over the past four years, the women's program has gone from one junior girl team and City League to BWPL grand finalist in our first season and BWPL champions by seven points in 2020 and a girl only team in every age (U10-U18).
"It's been good for the ladies and the coaches. It's just not as good for the club I guess.
"But we're trying to be that feeder club rather than sit at top level.''
The grand final-winning senior players from last season have advanced to a number of NPLW clubs including Mitchelton, Brisbane City, Olympic, Virginia and Capalaba.
Coaches Archy Kahondo (Capalaba) and Brittany Madden (The Lake's in BWPL) have also left the Ipswich club.
Despite losing their women's side, the Bulls are pressing ahead with their female program in Football Brisbane competitions.
Zeidler said the club expected to field girls teams in under 10/11, under 12, under 13, under 14, under 15, under 16 and city league women.
"Providing pathways for coaches and players is high on the club priorities,'' Zeidler said.
A positive has been an influx of early junior registrations this season, indicating players are keen to return or come across from other clubs after last year's COVID challenges.
Various junior competitions start after Easter.
As for the men's competitions, Zeidler said the Bulls were preparing a host of teams from Capital League 1 and the City leagues to a new under-18 team and over 35 combination.
With Norbert Duga and Trent Abel returning as senior team coaches, the club has a level of stability in the senior ranks.
However, with Western Spirit moving into Brisbane Premier League, the Bulls will have new local derbies this season.
Ripley Valley FC has been promoted to Capital League 1, setting up some great Ipswich battles in 2021.
"It's good to still have another one (derby) rather than losing that, which has always been good,'' Zeidler said.
The Bulls-Ripley showdowns will be helpful generating interest in the league and building regional ties.
"A lot of our guys are good friends off the field as well,'' he said. "It should be a good game.''