Revolution backs plan for expansion
WIDE Bay Revolution technical director Bill Mitchell has backed plans to expand the Fraser Coast League to include Bundaberg teams.
And he said he believed a fully fledged senior competition, comprising teams from Wide Bay's four main centres - Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Gympie and Bundaberg - would boost the Australian Premier League club's chances of fielding a senior men's team.
The Revolution will field nine age-group sides in the inaugural APL Queensland conference which begins in March, but Mitchell harbours a desire to have a Revolution side in the senior competition when the APL expands or should any of the existing 10 clubs pull out of the new league.
"Having something like that (a Wide Bay competition) would be a great step forward and would only benefit the game," he said.
"I think it is a great concept and a great idea and it would be great to see the senior players in the area moving towards a better standard of competition."
As reported in the Chronicle last Thursday, up to six Bundaberg clubs have expressed interest in joining the Fraser Coast League, which was contested by teams from Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Gympie teams last year.
If it gets the green light, Mitchell, who will take charge of the Revolution's U20 side this year, believed the competition would provide emerging talent with an even stronger foundation to build their careers on.
"Everyone is supportive of moving the game forward and growing the standard of club football," he said.
"The criteria Football Australia has set for an APL licence is that they want clubs to help develop local juniors in their catchment area and flow on to become senior players and go on to the best level they can."
The launch of the APL is the first step towards establishing a national second tier of football for the A-League, but is first and foremost designed as a pathway for elite players and coaches.
Mitchell said it was important the Revolution had strong ties with local clubs to ensure there was a steady flow of players feeding the APL club.
"We want to move players in club football closer to the playing standard of APL so it's not as big a gap when they jump from one to another," he said.
Mitchell, who attended a state technical directors meeting at the weekend, said there was a possibility a senior women's competition could be added to the APL program.
"It's not going to be in 12 months or two years, but there are the plans to move the women's side of the game forward in the APL in the coming years," he said.
The Revolution's U18 and U20 sides ramped up their preparations for their first preseason game on Sunday against Caloundra with a scratch match last Thursday.
Mitchell said he was impressed by the intensity shown by the players and the overall standard of the group.