Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)
It’s not often that Brisbane’s Capital League Four would be abuzz with so much anticipation leading into a season. Little more than a weekend kick-around for some, in previous years the league has struggled to attract clubs.
Last year just seven clubs took part. Boy, hasn’t that changed in the break with thirteen clubs lining for this year’s edition. Old stagers are joined by those returning to the Capital League fold and those that have never been here before.
Not only is it the increase in the number of clubs but it’s also the calibre and aspirational hopes that some of them harbour that has added to the level of interest. I suspect that GPS manufacturers will also be excited given the amount of travel involved. The longest trip clocking in at almost 100 kilometres with an hour and a quarter in travel time.
So who are these clubs? With the departure of Bardon Latrobe and Mooroondu to loftier heights, the old stagers in the league remain in Brighton Bulldogs, Greenbank, Logan Village and Logan City Kings.
North Brisbane is also back after re-joining Football Brisbane in 2015. In the mid-nineties the Lutwyche-based side made it all the way to the XXXX League, the premier competition of its time. After a very impressive third position on the league table last year, there are further signs of their advancement with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Football Club, themselves only formed in 2013, to play under the North Brisbane banner. A strategic move that will be hoped to launch the club to greater things again.
They’ll be joined by Samford and Kangaroo Point Rovers who made the drop from Capital Three. Rovers were on a steep trajectory up the Football Brisbane ranks in recent years earning promotion to Capital Two before having to decline that offer due to their playing ranks literally living up to the club’s nickname. That’s a struggle the club faces on a regular basis as part of their inner-city base.
Samford have been relegated in successive seasons as they face the reality of attracting players in a crowded north-western Brisbane market while being based in a comparatively isolated village.
Then there’s the clubs returning to the Capital League structure. Springfield United pulled out midway through 2013 after struggling for players while Bethania Rams were one win away from a Grand Final appearance in 2014 before taking last year off to play outside the Football Brisbane structure.
Deception Bay restarted their mens program in 2014 via the City League and now make the jump into the higher Capital Leagues. That will provide their juniors with a place to continue their football rather than having to transfer to other clubs in the area.
Two clubs join the Football Brisbane hierarchy for the first time. St George Willawong was formed in 2010 but has been playing in social leagues. Last year they were Premiers in the top division of their Commercial League division and they are seeking out the challenge of playing against the best teams in Brisbane on a weekly basis.
Logan Metro has been playing in the Church Leagues for around five years. The step up into Football Brisbane competitions has the added appeal of competing in the FFA Cup with the club hoping to get their name up in lights on a national stage. With a proactive committee working to a clear five-year plan and ever-growing corporate support, that dream may just be able to be achieved in future years.
There is one club that there has been considerable buzz about, another that was previously in the Football Brisbane structure, Caboolture. After playing in the Sunshine Coast Premier League where they won twelve of their twenty games last year, they have returned to Brisbane after an almost a twenty year absence. Many are predicting they’ll make a rapid rise up the football hierarchy with access to a massive and ever-growing catchment area.
Yes there will be some travel but there’s also some fantastic derbies, none less than in the first week with Caboolture travelling to Deception Bay and Logan Village hosting Logan City Kings. Here’s the full first round of fixtures:
Friday 19 February 8:30pm – Deception Bay v Caboolture
Saturday 20 February 3:30pm – Logan Metro v Kangaroo Point Rovers
Saturday 20 February 6:00pm – Greenbank v St George Willawong
Saturday 20 February 6:00pm – Logan Village v Logan City Kings
Saturday 20 February 7:30pm – Springfield United v Bethania Rams
North Brisbane and Brighton Bulldogs match has been deferred to a later date due to Prentice Park being still under renovation while Samford will also be able to cool their heels for another week as they have the bye.