Cats need players to stay competitive
Australian Rules: Gympie Cats women's coach Tony Kirsopp thinks his squad has the talent to give the new-look Wide Bay conference a shake-up this season.
He just doesn't have the numbers.
Kirsopp has a core squad of 12 players - about half the number he needs to guarantee a competitive campaign.
The Cats won one game in 2017 and will look to build on that after it was announced recently they would enter Wide Bay's first women's competition.
Gympie played in an extended league last year, travelling to the Gold Coast and Brisbane for games.
This year the club will play a reduced number of matches closer to home.
It is a factor Kirsopp thinks should attract more women players to the Cats organisation this year.
"Having the furtherest game an hour and a half away, as opposed to driving to the Gold Coast, will make a difference,” he said.
"If we can get some more players that are willing to commit to being here every week - that's all it comes down to.”
However the Cats are not the only team in the Wide Bay conference struggling for numbers.
Bundaberg-based Brothers Bulldogs player and team organiser Daniella Baulch knows the hard work and pain in training now will be worth it next month.
The Bulldogs and fellow Bundy outfit The Waves are counting down the days until the new AFL Wide Bay women's competition begins.
Both sides will start with a lightning carnival next week before the season starts on February 10 when the two sides face each other.
They will be joined in the competition by Gympie, Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bay Power.
The Bulldogs were the last team to commit when the competition was announced last month but Baulch said the team was on track.
"We have 24 on paper and 17 registered for the competition,” she said.
"We have got a full team together.”
The Gympie Cats train every Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm at Cats Oval.