Could the Gympie Cats be on the move next year?
AUSSIE RULES: The premiership-winning Gympie Cats could leave the AFL Wide Bay competition next season after a tumultuous 2018 saw them crowned champions and also embroiled in controversies.
Just over a month after coach Courtney Findlay led last year's wooden spooners to premiership glory with a grand final win over the Hervey Bay Bombers, Cats president Jason Bromilow said the club was considering a move to play in Division 3 of the Queensland Football Association next season.
Bromilow gave several reasons for the potential move, including the chance to build on the club's recent success.
"Wide Bay has gotten us to this position but we have to also think about the club in five to 10 years' time,” Bromilow said.
"For us to become a bigger and better club and to go forward we need to go down south.
"We have a good young core group of blokes in the football club and we want to see how they go in the Brisbane comp.”
If the move goes ahead, supporters will not miss out on seeing their beloved Cats in action in the Gold City.
They would still play half of their home and away season games at Ray Warren Oval.
"We would have nine home games and nine away games,” Bromilow said.
"The supporters would get to see a high quality of football being played and everyone is excited.”
The Cats will have a meeting with the Queensland Football Association next Wednesday. Bromilow said this season's on and off-field incidents would not affect chances of a potential move.
"It's like a job interview but harder. We have to prepare a power point presentation about why we want to go into the competition,” he said.
"We have an hour to sit down and sell our club to them. I think we will find out about a week after this meeting.
"I don't think this will affect our chances. The furtherest we have to travel will be Ipswich.”
Gympie and the folded Pomona Demons put their old rivalry aside last year and merged to become the AFL Wide Bay championship-winning Cats side of 2018, but not without a host of problems.
Captain Lanze Magin and big forward Hayden Graham received three and two-week suspensions respectively for their involvement in a melee against the Bombers in Round 12, which resulted in the game being stopped in the final quarter.
Magin was banned again after being cited for threatening an umpire following the Cats' 10-point qualifying final victory over the Bombers in Bundaberg on August 18.
He fronted the AFL Queensland tribunal and copped a four-weeks out of the game, thus missing the grand final.
AFL Wide Bay president Anthony Stothard put all six clubs in the competition on notice in an e-mail from Wide Bay during the mid-season bye week in July.
"Melees are not acceptable under any circumstance and will not be tolerated in the competition,” Stothard said in the statement.
"It was a blanket group email that was sent to everyone.”
Bromilow said both AFL Wide Bay and AFL Queensland had praised the Cats for their professional conduct on grand final day.