2016 is no longer a thought, it’s a reality, and that’s exciting. Here’s just a taste of what you’ve got to look forward to this year in Queensland footy.
Have you sat around this summer, reflecting on 2015, wondering how your team would have stacked up against teams in other divisions? Wonder no more, because the Alpha-Sport Pre-Season Cup is back again. The four pool, 32 team competition kicks off on March 5.
The class of ‘15
Queensland had a stellar year at the draft in 2015, with 11 players landing at AFL clubs for the 2016 season, which means there could be more than a handful of players running out for the first time this year. We have to remember and AFL career is a marathon, not a sprint, so there’s not rush in getting them onto the big stage, but I know when the time comes, all of them will be ready to rock and roll.
Would you believe me if I told you AFL footy is only 37 days away? Well it is. The NAB Challenge gets underway on Thursday, Feb 18. Queenslanders will get their chance to get a good look at the local stars, plus a few interstate guests as well this pre-season.
In a top-end treat, Brisbane will take on St Kilda at Harrop Park, Mackay, on March 6, the Lions and SUNS will do battle at Burpengary on February 21, the SUNS will host Adelaide at Metricon Stadium on March 11, and to close proceedings before the home and away season gets underway, the Lions and GIANTS will do battle at Metricon Stadium on March 13.
2016 is the 150th anniversary of football being played in Queensland, and to celebrate, clubs right across the state will be welcoming everyone back. ‘Homecoming’ will be an opportunity for clubs to host a function to celebrate their history, and contribution football in Queensland across the journey. Some of the stories thrown across the bar this year will be incredible.
As Kanye and Chris Martin once said, “I’m coming home again.”
Defending the crowns
Player development is, and always will be key, but gee it would be nice to go back to back in both the Under 16 and Under 18 NAB National Championships. After clean sweeping both championships in 2015, the Q shield will hope to replicate that again. Judging by the class of players coming through again this year, both teams are in good hands.
Is there anything better than the first time a team runs out for points in a year? That first bounce, first goal, first win for some, it makes you wonder how you went without football over summer. Clear your schedule for April 2, because footy will be back in a big way.
2016 looks like being the biggest year yet for female footy, not only in Queensland, but Australia. It is expected that an AFL national women’s league will be announced for 2017 in the coming months, taking the female football space to the next level. That news is already having an impact on grass roots level, with the QWAFA competition receiving a lot of interest from new clubs looking to enter a team this year. When you combine that with the QWAFL’s standard increasing every season, and the success of the Queensland Women’s State Team, female footy is booming.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, it’s January 12, and you’re right, we are all still getting over the Christmas break, but how can you not get excited thinking about what September may hold. Everything that is done between now and the conclusion of the home and away season is aimed at finals football; it’s the ultimate goal. If 2015 is anything to go by, we are in for an absolute treat.
By Andrew Wiles