AFL Queensland today announced Barry Gibson as coach of the 2014 North Queensland AFL representative team to play South Queensland.
The match is part of a revamped state representative program that will see a triple header played at Brisbane’s new $14 million Moreton Bay Regional Sports Complex – AFL Precinct on Sunday June 8.
The South Queensland team – comprising of players from the QFA, QAFA, Darling Downs and Wide Bay leagues – will take on the best North Queensland players from Cairns, Capricornia, Mackay, Mount Isa and Townsville.
A Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) representative squad will meet the Victorian Amateurs Football Association (VAFA), while a women’s All-Stars game will see the state’s best 44 players vying for a spot in the Queensland state squad.
Gibson has been an active part of North Queensland’s football community since 2001, coaching the Townsville senior representative team in 2002, 2012 and 2013 and the Hermit Park Tigers from 2010 to 2013.
He’s no stranger to success, having coached in four grand finals; winning a premiership and all three representative games under his watch.
The new coach also brings a wealth of playing knowledge to the role, having racked up 420 games of senior football in Tasmania, Victoria and Townsville.
“I feel very honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead the North Queensland team under this new concept, particularly knowing the number of quality coaches we have throughout the region,” Gibson said of the appointment.
“As a team, we will be very distinct in terms of our game style, and through an exhaustive selection process we will choose players that complement that style.”
AFL Queensland also announced that AFL Stalwart John Durkin would act as Ambassador for the North Queensland side.
Durkin has been the cornerstone of the AFL Townsville league, serving as Chairman of the AFL Townsville executive for 12 years.
He established the AFL Townsville executive and was a catalyst in the reforming of Senior Representative Football in North Queensland.
Durkin played an important role in the development of Tony Ireland Stadium and was awarded the prestigious AFL Merit Award for his service to the game.
He said the revised program would do more than reignite old rivalries.
“This is a rebirth of the fierce contests through the 70’s and 80’s where each region sent their best players to the Country Championships,” Durkin said.
“The outcomes of those carnivals were bragging rights, but with a direct pathway now forged through the SUNS and Lions academies, each player can aspire to the possibility of being recruited to the elite level of AFL.”