Dalby Swans reveal goals and plans for 2020 season
AFTER what has been four agonising months of uncertainty surrounding community sports in the southwest, the Dalby Swans have themselves become the silver lining for all footy codes in the town.
The Swans will push ahead with the junior and senior seasons this weekend as one of the only community sporting clubs to continue with their season despite COVID restrictions threatening to stop the players taking flight this year.
President Matt Waye said the excitement could be felt throughout the club, and despite the uncertainty of the last few months, the club remained well-supported in the community.
“It’s been a tough time for everyone, we can’t complain too much,” he said.
“AFLQ have done a really good job keeping us informed, they’ve been confident with getting back on the path.
“Full credit to AFL and AFLQ for the amount of information they’ve supplied to the clubs during what has been a tough period for the country and further globally.
“It put us in limbo for a while and our sponsors have stood by us, and they’re supporting the club.”
For the first time since 2018, Dalby Swans will have an adult male team competing in the Allied Pickford Cup.
A lack of numbers and enrolments last year meant the Swans failed to field a team, but now that numbers are back up, Waye and the team are keeping their ambitions high for 2020.
“Our goals are to get our first game under our belt,” he said.
“For our seniors we want to have some success and keep bringing players in, and really cement themselves through this year and what’s going to be an odd season, and stay competitive and keep fighting in the next year.”
With the Diehards and Wheatmen falling victim to heavy COVID-19 restrictions, and both withdrawing from their respective seasons, Waye said a number of new players have joined the Swans from the other codes.
Waye said the adult teams would be taking to the field with some level of confidence, but the season won’t be without its challenges.
“There’s some trepidation,” Waye said.
“We don’t know how we’re going to go, I’d like to think we’ll go well.
“There’s an excitement in the club building for football to get up and running again this weekend across all the grades.”
Only six teams will be playing in the Allied Pickford Cup this year, down from its usual numbers due to COVID.
Waye said a “big hole” was left in the sport with the University withdrawing all its teams due to COVID.
Under-10, under-12, and under-14 teams will take to the field for the junior competition, but numbers in the under-14s are still lacking, according to Waye.
The president said the club was unsure whether the junior competition would be continuing and said this uncertainty may have halted any promotion of the junior sides on behalf of club, possibly stunting numbers.
“The one challenge is that we didn’t know that juniors would be going ahead,” he said.
“We’ve always worked on the theory that seniors would be but it wasn’t until three, four weeks ago that the juniors were going ahead.
“We’ve got some ground to make up and we’re working really hard.”
One of the only major hits to the club since the news broke about the season going ahead is that they won’t be field a women's team this year.
“We’re definitely aiming over the next 12 months or so to field a women's team,” Waye said.
“We had plans to field a women's team this year but we ran into coronavirus.”
Moving forward the next few goals for the club are to field a ladies team for next season, and to continue increasing numbers for the junior competition this year.
“We’re really aiming to increase our numbers and get a really solid junior contingent in all grades, and keep them together,” Waye said.
If interested, any players can come to training on Tuesday and Thursday kicking off at 4.30pm for juniors and 6.30pm for seniors.