AFL Queensland confirm Gympie Cats will move to a new league
AUSSIE RULES: The Gympie Cats will move south from the AFL Wide Bay competition and join Division 3 of the Queensland Football Association in Season 2020, but the club faces concerns in the interim.
AFL Queensland released a statement confirming this year's premiers had been granted a provisional licence to enter the QFA competition after next season in a decision that "(provided) clarity and a clear future direction for the club” but cited "on and off field improvements” to be made next season.
"As the governing body, AFL Queensland must balance the aspirations of individual clubs while ensuring all competitions are strong, sustainable and importantly have an appropriate level of competitive balance,” the statement read.
"(The decision) allows AFL Wide Bay time to prepare for Gympie's transition to QFA over the course of the 2019 season, while giving the club time to continue to work on a number of identified on and off field improvements to ensure they can successfully transition and enjoy sustained success at QFA level in 2020 and beyond.
"To that end, AFL Queensland have offered assistance in a range of areas to support the (club) in 2019, to ensure they successfully transition into the QFA Division 3 competition in 2020.
"The Gympie Football Club had a very successful 2018 season winning the AFL Wide Bay Premiership and are well placed to grow from strength to strength in the coming years.”
Cats president Jason Bromilow and committee member Jason Kent outlined player retention and sponsorship concerns for the club if they remained in the Wide Bay competition next season.
"If we want to be successful as a club we have to move south,” Bromilow said.
"More than half of our players come from south of Gympie, so the move makes sense.”
Gympie and the folded Pomona Demons put their old rivalry aside last year and merged to become the AFL Wide Bay championship-winning Cats side of 2018, but not without a host of problems.
Captain Lanze Magin and big forward Hayden Graham received three and two-week suspensions respectively for their involvement in a melee against the Bombers in Round 12, which resulted in the game being stopped in the final quarter.
Magin was banned again after being cited for threatening an umpire following the Cats' 10-point qualifying final victory over the Bombers in Bundaberg on August 18.
He fronted the AFL Queensland tribunal and copped a four-weeks out of the game, thus missing the grand final.