Thursday, 9 October, 2008

An exciting new era has dawned for senior football in the northern suburbs after the Aspley Hornets were today granted a license to participate in the top level AFLQ State League Division 1 from 2009.

Boasting financial might and security off the field, and with the biggest number of juniors in Queensland, Aspley carries AFLQ’s expectations of being a power base for the game in the region for the next few decades.

The license became available after an independent consultant strongly recommended the Hornets ahead of the financially-hampered Zillmere Eagles, whose provisional 12-month license given to them in the wake of the Shawsportz collapse expired.

The recommendation by Peter Phair of PEP Management and Health Consultants, who undertook an in-depth review of senior AFL football on Brisbane’s northside, was fully endorsed by the AFL Queensland commission.  

“The off-field staff and the players at Zillmere have done a fantastic job given their circumstances, but it became increasingly evident to the club that their long-term sustainability was an ongoing concern,” said AFLQ chief executive Richard Griffiths.

“The commission’s decision was all about the best interests of the game and the local community in the future - the competition now has a northside club that is in command of its own destiny.

“In 30 years time we want to look at Aspley as a model club that has been stable throughout the period of time and produced solid results both on and off the field.”

Always fielding teams that played with great passion and courage, Zillmere nonetheless have had to weather numerous battles off the field over the past 20 years, merging with Sandgate when they were known as Windsor-Zillmere to become North Brisbane.

That union lasted from 1991 to1995, when the Eagles won the premiership, but folded the following year. They were reborn in 1997 as the Northern Eagles, before again falling on hard times and becoming Zillmere Eagles in 2005.

In contrast, Aspley have a highly successful license and gaming club at its Graham Road premises, recently opened a new $1.5 million training and changeroom complex, and boast a substantial number of assets including other grounds at Brendale.

AFLQ will ensure that Zillmere’s spiritual home at O’Callaghan Park will not be neglected, with four Velocity Sports Cup matches involving Aspley to be played there each year and the Eagles’ honour boards and other memorabilia to be maintained.

The AFLQ State League takes on an exciting new dimension in 2009 with the Northern Territory, Western Magpies and now Aspley participating in the expanded 10-team competition.

Aspley, who have provided a huge number of junior players to Zillmere’s State League ranks over a long period of time, are working to convince all of the highly promising Eagles side from 2008 to move across for next season.


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