Gympie Cats Shanti Lau last year.
Gympie Cats Shanti Lau last year. Leeroy Todd

Cat's women's coach struggles to get numbers for game one

WOMEN'S AFL returns to Gympie this weekend but the Gympie Cats women's team is struggling to get numbers for the first game.

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The Cats have about half the numbers to guarantee a competitive campaign and have tried reaching out to neighbouring clubs to gather more players.

Coach Tony Kirsopp said he had been trying to get players but was not sure how many would turn up.

"I hope we can scrape together at least 12 or 14 but I don't know how many players will show up,” he said.

"We have asked players from the men's Pomona side if they have girlfriends who would want to play and printed flyers to harbour interest.

"I just don't know what else to do. It is a week out from our first game and we should be focusing on training not worrying about having the right numbers to have a side.”

Kirsopp said he could not understand the drop in numbers.

Gympie women's AFL coach Tony Kirsopp.
Gympie women's AFL coach Tony Kirsopp is trying to get players. Tom Daunt

"I just can't work out the drop all of a sudden. We have had a few players move away for uni but it still doesn't explain this huge drop” he said.

"Whether it's the difficult competition last year I don't know.”

A lack of available players forced the Cats to withdraw from AFL Wide Bay's first Flash Footy Carnival over the weekend.

Cats president Jason Bromilow said missing the pre-season carnival was unfortunate but was remaining hopeful for the first game this weekend against Maryborough.

"About half the team were unable to play and we pulled the pin on the carnival. It is not ideal but Kirsopp will be doing his best to get the players,” he said.

"It was a difficult competition last year, with the team being a part of Brisbane which meant there was a lot of travelling to south Queensland for hour long games.

"This year we are a part of the Wide Bay competition and the games will start at 5pm which should make it easier on the players.”

The rules and structure of the competition have changed this year which will cater for sides scrambling for numbers.

"AFL Queensland have made it a six round competition with a shorter field which will allow teams with 10 players to still have a game,” he said.

"The competition can be extended after those six rounds if there is enough interest.”

Kirsopp said it was unfortunate because there was a great bunch of girls and the competition could be a stepping stone.

"We have players who will be backing up from last year and those that are amateurs,” he said.

"It is a great way for those that are new to town to meet some people and get fit at the same time but players can be drafted into the AFL Women's competition.

"Last year, Jessy Keeffe was selected for the Brisbane Lions women's team, which shows anything can be possible from this competition.” s