AMERICAN FOOTBALL: A squad of 30 will gear up and hit the gridiron this year when the Mackay Mavericks bring football back to town.
The team will join the North Queensland league, and compete against the Townsville Cyclones and Cairns Falcons in the existing Queensland conference.
Mackay Gridiron organiser Carlos Lemura said he has already received several enquiries and the necessary backing from Gridiron Queensland (GQ) to make the team official.
"Now we've got the support of Cairns, Townsville as well as GQ we have the opportunity to make a third team in Mackay to compete,” he said.
"We have the approval of things like insurance and gear now so we can really go ahead. They (GQ) are very keen to develop North Queensland and have an additional team so they've offered us a full range of support.”
Mr Lemura said the team would have professional Australian coaches come to train the new players, teaching them how to hit, catch and run the perfect route.
"These guys have played in the States and for the Australian team, so we'll be learning from the best,” he said.
"We'd love to also start a women's and junior team in the future, similar to other clubs around Australia.
"To get the men's team off the ground we'll need a minimum of about 16 players but 30 or more would be ideal.”
The prospective name for the new squad will be the Mackay Mavericks and players are set to don cobalt blue and gunmetal grey uniforms and helmets when they take the field.
"We've also got a great logo in mind and we think those uniforms will look great against our other North Queensland counterparts,” Mr Lemura said.
"Once we've got a few more players on board we'll start with a few flag games, get people used to the game dynamics and then we'll get the coaches here from Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns to get them up to scratch.
"We'll then practise here locally each week and travel between here, Cairns and Townsville for games.”
For those keen to develop their skills even further, a state and national team are picked each year, with players often chosen to represent overseas. Well known defensive tackle Jesse Williams began in Brisbane and played for the Seattle Seahawks.
HOW TO JOIN:
Visit Mackay Gridiron on Facebook and send them a message with your name and contact number.