Greater Western Sydney ready to fly in Ipswich
IF OTHER codes in Ipswich are worried about AFL moving in on their turf there is more reason for concern.
The Greater Western Suburbs Aussie rules club, with the backing of it's parent AFL club - Greater Western Sydney, is starting an under-18 team this season.
"Greater Western Sydney have backed us completely," Greater Western Suburbs club vice-president Dean Hooley said.
"They're happy to do whatever they can to help."
The new U18 team will not only allow the region to retain its young talent, it aims to attract U18 players from other regions to assist their development.
And once they are too old, the GWS club is happy for them to return to their original club as better players, better prepared for the senior ranks.
The U18s will contest the SEQAFL Division 2 U18 competition.
They have 18 players on the books already and are confident of adding to that with their sign-on days at Redbank Plains this weekend.
There are numerous senior clubs that do not have U18 teams, such as the Ipswich Eagles.
GWS provides them with a chance to improve their game with the support of an AFL parent club, rather than have them thrown in under-developed into a men's competition.
"There are a lot of kids from other clubs who may not get a game where they are," Dooley said. "They can come to us and at least play in an under-18s competition."
Dooley is confident they will emerge better players from the GWS U18 program.
Players will receive coaching assistance from Greater Western Sydney as well as nutrition, weights and fitness programs.
Club sponsor Bendigo Bank has also offered to provide players with financial advice.
"We'll get one team up this year and are also concentrating on the under-16s, 14s, 12s and junior teams," Hooley said.
Chris Brown is one young player who made his debut for the Collingwood Park Power last season and has jumped at the chance to play in the GWS U18s this year.
"I can't wait," Brown said.
"It's going to be an awesome season. It's going to be good to play with my own age and with other players.
It's going to be an awesome season. It's going to be good to play with my own age and with other players.
"The team is coming up and has some good players."
Having mixed it with the senior men last year in Division Four the full forward has little idea of what the Division two U18s will provide, but he is ready for the challenge.
"It's pretty overwhelming and exciting," Brown said.
"It'll be challenging but a lot of fun as well. Hopefully we're able to get into the grand final."
While players won't be coerced to join the Power once they leave the U18 ranks, Brown believes the team can only strengthen the Collingwood Park senior club. "It's a good set up with the Collingwood Park team," he said.
- Saturday: Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve and Redbank Plaza (10am-2pm)
- Sunday: Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve (10am-2pm)