NPL cam­paign not over

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

LIFE will go on for women’s foot­ball in North Queens­land, even though a few speed bumps have got in the way.

The North Queens­land Fury will ea­gerly await the re­sults of dis­cus­sions be­tween Foot­ball Queens­land and NPL teams dur­ing a round of meet­ings in Bris­bane this week­end, which Fury of­fi­cials hope will pro­vide a clearer pic­ture of where women’s foot­ball in the North is head­ing.

The Fury’s hopes of giv­ing lo­cal fe­male play­ers a bet­ter path­way to greater op­por­tu­nit- ies hit a road­block ear­lier this month when its bid for a fe­male NPL li­cence, and ac­cep­tance into the statewide un­der17, and un­der- 15 and un­der- 13 leagues, was re­jected by Foot­ball Queens­land.

The ex­pla­na­tion given by Foot­ball Queens­land was its de­sire to pre­serve the longterm sta­bil­ity of the cur­rent fe­male NPL league and main­tain the in­tegrity of re­gional lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions, an ex­pla­na­tion which did not go down well at the Fury.

“We made just as strong a bid with our fe­male NPL li­cence as we did with our suc­cess­ful men’s NPL bid, 100 per cent,” Fury di­rec­tory Glenn Min­tern said.

“We’re ob­vi­ously very dis­ap­pointed not to get a fe­male NPL li­cence.

“The best out­come would be for all girls in the North Queens­land re­gion to gain skills and for the cream of the crop to play NPL out of Townsville.

“Foot­ball is the world game and North Queens­land de­serves to be a part of it.

“We’ve got blokes who have gone on to play NPL, and there’s no rea­son why our girls and boys can’t also dream of rep­re­sent­ing Aus­tralia in foot­ball.”

North Queens­land has per­formed strongly at state and na­tional ju­nior car­ni­vals in both girls and boys, and just re­cently the North­ern girls un­der- 15 team were crowned state cham­pi­ons at the 2017 Queens­land Schools Foot­ball Cham­pi­onships.

Ing­ham’s Ash­ley Spina played W- League with the Bris­bane Roar and New­cas­tle Jets, and Townsville ju­nior In­dia Ku­bin last year played for the Mini Matil­das in their Asian Foot­ball Cup un­der- 16 Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers.

Min­tern be­lieves they are at the tip of the ice­berg when it comes to North Queens­land’s fe­male foot­ball tal­ent.

“We’ve had our re­gional teams play ex­cep­tion­ally well for some time now,” he said.

“The tal­ent is with­out doubt def­i­nitely here.

“My un­der­stand­ing is that Foot­ball Queens­land wants to make progress with our re­gion as soon as pos­si­ble, and we need to act now.”

North Queens­land Foot­ball joined forces with the Fury ear­lier this year, with the Fury plac­ing pres­sure on Foot­ball Queens­land to give them a place in the fe­male NPL.

One Fury player even penned a pas­sion­ate let­ter to a the gov­ern­ing body ask­ing where the fu­ture of North Queens­land fe­male foot­ballers lay, and Min­tern hopes that voice is not lost on power­bro­kers when talks be­gin in Bris­bane to­day.

“We’ve had it made quite clear to us that one of the top­ics on dis­cus­sion is how to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to play­ers in re­gions who have no NPL li­cence,” he said.

“We still hope to have a fe­male North Queens­land Fury NPL team, and we’re very much com­mit­ted to putting that path­way in place for our fe­male play­ers.

“From five years of age we want our foot­ball play­ers to have op­por­tu­ni­ties and path­ways so that they can go on to great things.”

Fury di­rec­tor Glenn Min­tern.

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