BIG DECISION: Footy clubs take a punt on zone change
TWO Northern Rivers Australian rules football clubs have decided to withdraw their senior teams from the AFL Queensland league and play in the North Coast zone, which commences in April 2021.
The decision by the Lismore Swans and recently reformed Casino Lions to join the AFL North Coast Senior Competition will see this zone expand for a third consecutive year.
The addition of these two clubs comes hot on the heels of the Northern Beaches Blues returning to the fold two seasons ago, and Nambucca Valley Lions rejoining this season.
Swans president Laura Cahill says the time is right to make the move south.
"The movement to a NSW-based league will give us the scope to engage with players in our broader regional area, and allow us to participate in a competition that's better suited to our vision and values at this point in time,'" she said.
"The Lismore Swans are looking forward to the opportunity to participate in the AFL North Coast competition.
"We are really excited about developing some new healthy rivalries with the existing North Coast teams."
After taking a long hiatus, the Casino Lions have re-formed and are roaring to play in 2021, club president Ben Hunt said.
"There was a lot of excitement around the town about the club's return and we came back based on a groundswell of support from local players and businesses," he said.
"We're looking to rebuild a club with a very prestigious history and return to AFL glory in the coming years.
"The vibe around the club and the players is exciting being able to compete again after such a long time away from the competition.
"It's great being part of a very diverse competition and being able to grow AFL in the area."
AFL North Coast Community manager, Paul Taylor, welcomed the new clubs and said that the local competition was in an extremely positive growth phase.
"It's incredibly exciting to have two new clubs joining the competition in 2021 and we can't wait to see them in action," he said.
"This will mean that our senior competition has doubled in size in just three years, which is a fantastic reflection of the hard work of all involved in the competition and comes off the back of fiver years of growth in junior footy."