SAFL boss backs Blues
THE door remains open for Tweed Shire teams to re-enter the Summerland AFL competition despite Coolangatta-Tweed Coast withdrawing from the 2011 premiership this week.
Coolangatta-Tweed’s exit from the competition closely followed Nimbin Demons folding due to a lack of players.
Coolangatta Tweed, which joined the SAFL at the start in 2010, cited a mounting injury toll as the catalyst for the decision to pull out of the competition, just seven rounds into a 20-round season.
The Blues’ SAFL team was basically one of two reserves sides fielded by the club which plays in the AFL Queensland Premier Division. They had only played two games and were pumped by triple figures in both.
SAFL president Tony Burton was disappointed with the club’s decision but was understanding of their plight.
“It’s what happens in regional footy,” Burton said. “It’s not unusual for this to happen. “We haven’t given up on them, and on Nimbin, returning in the future.
“Coolangatta and (defending premiers) Tweed Coast Tigers have been a real plus for our league, which is why we’re disappointed.
“No doubt we were a better league with them in.” It’s not the first time clubs have come and gone in the SAFL.
Murwillumbah and Grafton football clubs have played in the SAFL in various guises since the league was established in the early 1980s.
Murwillumbah, known as the Hawks, last played in the SAFL in 2004 but Burton has raised the prospect of the club re-joining the competition – along with Coolangatta – next season.
Burton said Murwillumbah were close to joining this season but left their run too late.
“Byron (Magpies), Ballina (Bombers), Lismore (Swans) ... they are all playing well and their footy is of another standard; it’s really lifted those foundation clubs.
And with the Tigers always strong, it augurs well for a good finals series later this year,” he said.
“Given that we’re in a strong rugby league area, I think we’re able to weather these things well.”
The SAFL has now redrawn its 2011 fixture and have brought forward the finals series, which begins on Saturday, August 13.
The now four-team SAFL will retain its representative match with the Saturday, June 11, match against the AFL Darling Downs to be played in Toowoomba.