THE QUEANBEYAN Tigers are hoping the club’s new alliance with the Bateman’s Bay Sharks will help further boost its regional presence.
The Tigers have pre-existing relationships with the Cooma Cats, Harman Hogs, St Edmunds College and the South East Regional Academy of Sport with the Sharks to add a coastal enclave to Queanbeyan’s growing profile.
The club partnership initiative is part of a wider push by AFL NSW/ACT to use NEAFL clubs to help foster junior development among smaller clubs in Canberra and regional NSW.
And Tigers general manager Ron Fowlie said the arrangement would work to benefit both parties.
“It gives us a presence on the coast, not just to promote Queanbeyan but also for young, talented players from the area to have a pathway into the NEAFL,” Fowlie said.
Now that we’re involved in a second-tier competition to the AFL, these kids have got to come through a club like Queanbeyan if they’re to be a chance of being drafted to an AFL club.
“It’s certainly a big thing for a lot of those clubs to have an NEAFL club looking after them.”
As well as the Sharks affiliation with Queanbeyan, the South Coast club will also play in the AFL Canberra division two and division three competitions from next season.
Formally the Sharks were part of the Sapphire Coast AFL.
The Tigers have a long history with the South Coast region with a number of the club’s current players including the likes of Paul Franchi and James Manie having come through the SERAS system.
In light of the club’s new alliance with the Sharks, Queanbeyan has appointed ex-VFL player and former Tigers first grade coach Peter Williamson to act as the club’s imagural South Coast ambassador.
Queanbeyan will also take its pre-season player’s camp to Long Beach, about 30 minutes north of Batemans Bay, next March.