A new era of football dawns this weekend on the Downs with the inaugural FQPL3 kicking off. The prospect of promotion with the newly formed competition pyramid will no doubt be alluring for the ambitious clubs, whilst there is also plenty at stake in the local context too. We take a look at some of the stories and sub-plots to look out for heading into Round One this weekend.
After winning it all in 2021, ‘The Magpies’ will be firmly in the sights of 8 teams looking to dethrone the reigning champs. Willowburn have added strength to their midfield again with the acquisition of Styler (Thunder) and Fuller (Western Pride) and won’t be willing to give anything easy to their rivals.
Rockville and Highfields continue to establish thriving nurseries of female football development, with both clubs having four out of the nine teams in the competition. The odds are high for all of them to feature heavily in silverware matches throughout 2022. Highfields have recruited well, with the likes of Doro (Willowburn) and Tyrell (SWQ Thunder). And the Rovers have also strengthened their squad. It’ll also be interesting to see how former player Sarah Sheridan swaps the boots for the clipboard as she takes the reins as coach for one of the Rovers team.
West Wanderers have a new coach in Tony Gunder and will be looking to regain some confidence & attempt to become a competitive force. If they can fight and scrap for those three precious points in the early rounds, it could set them up for a resurgence in the league.
USQFC narrowly missed out on the top four last season, and will surely be motivated to push for that illusive finals spot in 2022. With some of their junior ladies making their senior debut, it could be the youthful spark that fuels the Phoenix fire this year.
With the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a Grand Final Berth last year, South Toowoomba Hawks, are poised to make 2022 a big year, with the experience of Melony Baker as their coach. All the pieces are starting to come together, where a blue and orange premiership is a very real possibility.
By all reports ‘The Redbacks’ have had a disrupted pre-season, with recent weather events further impacting their preparation. But like every Gatton team, there is always a steely resilience and they have the possibility of causing some upsets throughout the season.
Two new coaches entering the mens competition, in David Park-Ballay (Highfields FC) and Wayne Richardson (Gatton). It’ll be interesting to see just how their styles will influence and impact the rest of the league. Gatton have been picked by many, as the real ‘dark horse’ for 2022, and this was even before they claimed the first silverware in the pre-season tournament (Winstanley Shield). If both Gatton and Highfields claim some early wins it could be the start of something big for these two clubs.
Wanderers will be brimming with confidence with a reasonably successful preseason including a big win over Willowburn 7-2 in the Winstanley Shield. They’ll be looking to capitalise on that momentum, and with their squad being bolstered by some speed out wide, they’ve been tipped to be a real force in 2022.
Rockville have consolidated most of their squad for this season which bodes well for them, in terms of chemistry and cohesion. However, they are without their 2021 talisman Maysar Qaso, his form from last season was noticed by SWQ Thunder scouts and he has joined their ranks for the new season. Qaso’s absence opens up the door for someone within Rockville to make a statement in the early matches.
This Sunday afternoon is our Match of the Round, featuring the grand final rematch- Lawson and his lads (Saints), play host to McMillan’s Magpie (Willowburn). Two clubs with plenty of history and feeling, and it’s all set to be reignited at Middle Ridge Park. Saints have picked up a few key signings in the off season, but one noticeable absentee is the 2021 leading goal scorer, Mannyx Smith, it’ll be interesting to see who can fill the gap as the season progresses. Whilst Willowburn have lost some of their attack up front, but in exchange they’ve got some more senior players back into the group to help steer their ship in 2022.