AFL Queensland confirms the Garbutt Magpies will not field men’s reserves or women’s seniors teams in the AFL Townsville competition in 2023, following careful consideration and extensive consultation with AFLQ.
Several factors led the club to review its ability to field senior sides for the 2023 season and consider an alternative to reset and rebuild to be able to again field the two teams in 2024. These factors include the cost of club operations and accessibility to suitable facilities, with an exciting redevelopment of club changerooms due to be ready for the 2024 season.
AFLQ has worked closely with the club over the past several months, which has involved providing support and exploring ways to attract and retain players. Unfortunately, the club was unable to register enough players to field men’s reserves and women’s seniors teams this season.
“We understand this is disappointing for the club and its committee, who have worked extremely hard to relaunch the club over the past couple of years, after the Magpies Men returned to AFL Townsville senior ranks in 2021 following a 33-year hiatus,” AFL Townsville Competition Manager Dan Watts said.
“The Garbutt Magpies are a highly valued and important part of the AFL Townsville competition and the local community.
“AFLQ will continue to support the club with the aim of welcoming both men’s reserves and women’s seniors teams back in the 2024 season, with new facilities.”
The Garbutt Magpies have a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history with the club dating back over 65 years. It has provided many local Indigenous footballers with the opportunity to play in a social space where young men and women feel connected and safe. This is one of the reasons it is important all efforts are made to get the club back up and running in 2024.
Garbutt Magpies President Randal Ross said this rebuilding phase was especially important as the club prepares to celebrate 70 years of operations in 2025.
“When you look at our history it was the women who started the seniors off just in the last few years,” he said.
“We want to make sure we get the preparations in order so we’re ready for such an event because it means we still have those members here to capture that knowledge and be part of the event.
“This year while the club rebuilds and the new infrastructure goes in, we’ll concentrate on our Junior Bombers program, which remain a strong foundation for the Magpies in the future.”
In the meantime, senior players are encouraged to register with the Garbutt Magpies and play under a permit at other local clubs for the 2023 season.