Western Pride footballer Joe Duckworth takes on the Gold Coast defence during a National Premier Leagues match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Western Pride footballer Joe Duckworth takes on the Gold Coast defence during a National Premier Leagues match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex. Contributed

Why state's new football format can be a winner

COMMENT

AT last the breakthrough has arrived.

It's fantastic to see Football Queensland establishing a two-tier elite competition structure to progress the game in our state.

As a long-time football writer and fan, I have lobbied for many years to have Football Queensland and Football Brisbane work more closely together.

I'm thrilled to see the latest development announced this week.

Having the National Premier Leagues and Premier League competitions linked by a promotion/relegation system starting next year makes sense.

It was essential this step was taken.

While both competitions have provided quality players over the years, it's clear the NPL has the best young talents coming through. Development has been a key platform of the state competition.

At the same time, the current Brisbane Premier League competition has featured many of Queens- land's most experienced and seasoned footballers.

They provide a different skill set that's important for the game's future.

With this Football Queensland linkage, major progress can be made.

The Queensland NPL can continue to prepare our best youth for future A-League and possible overseas opportunities.

The newly named Football Queensland Premier League division can provide a robust competition for older players to help other younger players advance to the top- tier NPL.

Whether 14 teams in each expanded competition is too many remains to be seen.

Travel costs, scheduling and other logistical issues also need to be carefully monitored to ensure players, coaches, referees, officials and fans gain the most benefit.

But having Western Pride retained in the FQNPL and the Ipswich Knights guaranteed some security in the FQPL is terrific for regional football.

With our city's fine football heritage and junior production line, we had to be included.

Pride are matching the best teams currently playing in the state competition.

With some future development, the Knights may one day join Pride in the NPL competition.

Having a clearer pathway for players has to be a positive step.

It's now up to everyone involved to refine this model and make it successful.

Congratulations to those who have achieved this long overdue outcome.