Merger poised to lift Bulls

HOTLY-contested local derbies between three regional clubs may be played again next season if the Ipswich City Bulls regain their place in the Football Brisbane Division 1 competition.

A proposed merger between a successful Division 2 team and top six Division 1 club could give the Bulls a reprieve in 2012 after they were demoted in September.

Should the merger be finalised in coming weeks, the Bulls will be considered for a return to Division 1 ranks.

Bulls club president Brad Hockins yesterday welcomed the major off-season development.

"We'd be keen to take it. We'd jump at the chance to go back up there," Hockins said.

The Bulls, Ipswich Knights and Western Spirit played each other in Division 1 home and away games this season.

However, the Knights and Spirit were left as major local rivals for 2012 after the Bulls lost their final game 2-1 to Slacks Creek to drop back to Division 2.

While the proposed merger is yet to be sanctioned, Hockins said the Bulls were continuing their off-season rebuilding under new co-coaches Nev O'Sullivan and Danny Wilson.

The club will welcome players at a meet and greet night at Swifts Sports Club tomorrow from 7pm.

Gaining re-admission to Division 1 would be a huge boost for the Brassall-based club.

Football Brisbane general manager Reuben Robertson yesterday confirmed a proposed merger could impact on next year's Division 1 and Division 2 competitions.

However, he said Football Brisbane was waiting for an official application before a decision about filling any competition vacancies was made.

Robertson said he preferred to maintain a 14-team Division 1 competition.

"We are waiting on an official agreement between the clubs," Robertson said, saying the names of the merger clubs are confidential at this stage.

"Until we get formal notification from those clubs, nothing changes from our point of view (Toowoomba and Ipswich City drop back to Division 2).

"Should there be a merger and/or a team out of Division 1, the zone executive would make a decision on which clubs would be offered a position."

The 2012 season is due to start in mid-February.

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