September 7, 2020
Aussie Rules fans enjoyed a preview of what the 2021 Darling Downs competition could look like when Lyle Vidler Oval hosted three games back-to-back in Kingaroy on Saturday.
For the first time in the club’s history, the South Burnett Saints fielded a Reserve grade men’s team as well as men’s and women’s teams.
Club president Daniel Clacy said two Toowoomba teams had organised Reserve games earlier this year.
At that stage, the Saints didn’t quite have enough players to make the same thing happen.
But over the past few weeks, there had been strong numbers at training, culminating in 41 when the call was put out for a Reserve side to take on the Toowoomba Tigers Reserves on Saturday.
This Reserves game – technically a practice match – was played after the completion of the women’s and men’s games.
The Saints Reserves were defeated by the Toowoomba team but that hasn’t dampened the club’s enthusiasm for the Reserve Grade concept.
“We are trying to make it a full-time competition next year,” Daniel said.
“Coolaroo, the Tigers and us now have Reserve teams. We only need another team and we could have a competition like the women’s competition.
“AFL Queensland would be super excited to see the competition growing.”
The Darling Downs AFL competition formerly had Division 1 and Division 2 teams but clubs only fielded teams in one Division.
A Reserve Grade competition would mean clubs could field two men’s teams, providing more opportunities for players.
The aim would be for an 11-team A Grade competition in 2021, complemented by a four or five-team Reserve Grade comp.
Daniel said this structure would mean more players could enjoy a full game of football instead of sitting on the sidelines.
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The second last fixtures round of the shortened 2020 Darling Downs competition attracted a large crowd of spectators on Saturday, many sitting on blankets in front of their vehicles.
The South Burnett Saints had mixed fortunes, winning the men’s game but falling short in the women’s and the practice Reserve Grade game.
South Burnett started strongly in the men’s game, peppering the sticks in the first quarter and pulling even further ahead in the second.
But Toowoomba came alive after half-time, kicking four goals to one in the third quarter.
But the resurrection wasn’t enough to overhaul the home side.
The final score was Saints 10.18-78 to Tigers 8.4-52
South Burnett goals were kicked by Robert Goodwin (3), Keegan Wright (2), Nathan Trace, James Packer, Ben Smith, Ben Moller and Matthew Patroni.
In the women’s game, the Tigers were too strong for the Saints.
At the full-time siren, Toowoomba was ahead 6.7-43 to 2.2-14.
Saints’ goals were kicked by Kiara Wright and Sandy Jacobson.
Next weekend, the Saints men will travel to Dalby to take on the Swans, while the women’s team will head to Toowoomba to face South Toowoomba.
With one round left to play, the Saints are in fourth spot in the men’s competition while the women are in third.
The top six teams in the men’s comp will contest the finals, while all women’s teams get a chance to play off for the premiership.
Club president Daniel Clacy said the Saints would likely host one of the semi-final rounds in Kingaroy.