FINE TEAMWORK: Ipswich City, Western Spirit, Springfield and Western Pride were well-represented clubs working together at last weekend’s inaugural Ipswich Women’s Cup tournament.
FINE TEAMWORK: Ipswich City, Western Spirit, Springfield and Western Pride were well-represented clubs working together at last weekend’s inaugural Ipswich Women’s Cup tournament. CONTRIBUTED

Time for Brisbane, state bodies to work together

THE junior coach summed it up perfectly.

Working regularly with young footballers at club and school level, he had every right to express his concern.

The problem, he said, is the current south east Queensland football structure which creates confusion for junior club officials, parents, coaches and players.

Having Football Brisbane (FB) and Football Queensland (FQ) staging rival competitions has left some people unsure where to sign up their kids.

FB had a mortgage on juniors for many years through its divisional competitions involving many club teams from Ipswich.

However, the advent of the FQ's new National Premier League structure has dramatically changed all that.

The better kids are being urged to play for NPL clubs, which makes sense if that's the direction families want to pursue.

Those who played with the newly formed Western Pride Football Club last season received opportunities rarely offered in this region before.

New opposition, better quality coaches and a structure linked to the Football Federation Australia's (FFA) A-League and representative program should be good for the game.

However, where does that leave clubs in the FB divisional ranks?

Not everyone can play at higher levels, so it's essential that opportunities remain for those who want to enjoy football in less- demanding competitions.

With a new season upon us, it's clear the talent pool has been dramatically split with some clubs still searching for players.

That's why the FB divisional competitions should become a feeder into the NPL structure backed by FFA.

Instead of the competitions working against each other - creating a player merry-go-round - they should be linked.

At the top end, FB's Brisbane Premier League would make an excellent pathway to FQ's National Premier League.

This is because the best young players seem to be moving to the NPL, leaving some experienced older players still in the BPL.

This is an advantage.

The wisdom of some of the older heads can help those on the fringe of higher level football gain more experience.

FQ's vision is to attract the exciting talent and nurture it through FFA-backed programs.

That's also fair enough.

But surely a better working relationship can be established between FB and FQ to serve players of all skill levels.

The Ipswich region has led the way when it comes to clubs working together. This has been achieved with the formation of an Ipswich Football body and Western Pride as a western corridor entity.

Some tremendous regional partnerships have been established and excellent initiatives pursued.

These include the ongoing QT Cup (men's pre-season series) and last weekend's inaugural Ipswich Women's Cup involving Western Pride, Ipswich City, Western Spirit and Springfield clubs.

However, some of the region's best male players have opted to play in FB's third tier competition (Capital League 2), perhaps because of the fragmentation at BPL and NPL level.

It would help everyone who loves football, for the BPL and NPL powerbrokers to follow the Ipswich region's lead and work better together.

If that happens, we might see more junior players knowing exactly where they are going.



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