Club ready for QAFL challenge

The UQ Red Lions are preparing for their second step up in as many seasons, after being included in the new QAFL competition.

UQ, who moved into the Allied Pickfords Cup this season after a successful run in the SEQAFL Division Two competition, have a wealth of talent at their fingertips and president, Peter Herring, said they were excited to play a role in growing the game.

The Club has almost doubled in size in the last two years, going from three teams to seven, including the establishment of their first women’s team.

Herring said the Red Lions’ elevation into the QAFL would help attract more talent, with newer students who might have previously opted to play somewhere else, having a viable alternative on campus.

“Talent is one of the most important things about being a successful club,” he said.

“We’ve got a terrific reputation; we’re a CBD club and a good attractive club for those guys, offering good football and having great resources.

Off the field, Herring said the club valued its role in the personal development of each and every one of its members.

“We’ve got great resources on campus, with pools and athletic tracks and grounds and facilities, but the culture and the way we go about things is disciplined and respectful and that means that it’s a great place to be,” Herring said.

“People like to join the club and if you’ve got people wanting to join, then the teams become better and start growing.”

With many of UQ’s  players current students, Herring said the club emphasised a balance between footy and other areas of life.

“Playing at university provides an opportunity for young footballers to have an educational back up or Plan B, it’s not just football and football only.

“It’s about balancing with football and academic and social experiences and the club’s well-placed to deliver in a balanced way, not just specifically focused on football to the exclusion of everything else.”

With just the one season in Division One, Herring said they weren’t necessarily expecting to be elevated, but said now they had, they would make the most of the challenge, on and off the field.

“Everyone had the opportunity to put their strengths on the table and knew as a recent entrant we’d be a bolter,” he said.

“We’re grateful they’ve given us this opportunity.

“It’s a great opportunity to continue to grow and step up and realise our potential.”

All clubs presented a submission based on the six core pillars of governance, facilities, brand and culture, past performances, finance and their strategic plan., with their performance across all six considered.

AFLQ Community Football Manager, Cherie Brockwell, said while UQ was still a fledgling club at the top level, its culture and ability to help develop the game stood out in the submission process.

“We looked at how each club was equipped to fulfil the six core pillars we set out, and it was about more than just one aspect,” she said.

Obviously, on-field results came into account, but it was just one part of the process.

“We are focusing on growing the game with the restructured competitions, and we think that all of our clubs play a really important role in that goal.”

The Red Lions are one of 10 teams in the re-structured QAFL competition, which will be the state’s premier league, along with Palm Beach Currumbin, Broadbeach, Labrador, Morningside, Surfers Paradise, Sandgate, Wilston Grange, Western Magpies and Mt Gravatt.

All of the South-East Queensland community clubs were consulted through the process before the restructure was announced last week.

AFL Queensland met with clubs before the submission process began to discuss possible changes to the existing community football competition structure, and to allow clubs to offer suggestions and feedback on any of these.

After this was completed, clubs were able to vote on the make-up of the restructure and nominate for a particular competition.

This process resulted in the announcement of the QAFL, a QFA North, QFA South and QAFA A and B competitions for 2014.

For more information on the restructure, click here.

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