Blues? tragic turn-around
By TANIA PHILLIPS
PREMIERS one year out of the competition the next ? that is what has happened to the Coolangatta-Tweed Blues under-18s AFL Queensland Aussie Rules side and the club may be in danger of not having a reserve grade unless numbers improve.
AFL Queensland Football Operations manager Martin King said the demise of the young Blues side was a massive concern particularly as the Blues had been a successful nursery for top-line players including current AFL stars David Hale, Sam Gilbert and Wayde Mills.
He said the junior and senior club, as well as AFL Queensland development staff should devise a strategy to ensure the club's absence from the competition was only short term.
King said the Blues' neighbours, Palm Beach Currumbin, had suffered a similar down-turn last year but were back in the fold for the 2007 season.
However, Blues president Peter Damaskinos said it was not all doom and gloom for the club with plenty of players showing interest for the top two teams.
"One of AFL Queensland's guidelines is that if you forfeit three reserve grade then you lose your licence," he said.
"So we need to know now if we are going to have enough for both teams.
"A month out from the season, we have 38 players confirmed at this stage. We have promises but we need to see people on the track.
"There is no point in going into the season without players putting in some training."
He said while the club was confident of at least nine new interstate signings, they were also chasing ex-players, particularly any players from the now defunct Murwillumbah-based Summerland Australian Football League club.
Premiers three years ago in the AFL Queensland Division Two competition, the Blues have finished mid-table over the past two years and have suffered from their usual large turn-over of players ? caused by the transient nature of the region.