Emerald no longer in the Premier League
SOCCER: Emerald Eagles will no longer be a part of the Football Central Queensland Premier League competition.
Travel, struggling player numbers and player commitments have been the primary reasons for the Eagles to not be a part of the competition this season.
It means that the Premier League competition will now consist of eight teams with Clinton, 2016 premiers Frenchville, Capricorn Coast Premier, Southside United FC, Bluebirds United FC, Parkana, Nerimbera Magpies and Berserker.
Clinton Football Club assistant coach Dan Horton said the club has worked hard to have a team front up each week.
"It is a shame they are out of the competition they worked hard as a club to stay in the competition and they should be applauded for it,” Horton said.
Despite heavy defeats last season, the Eagles began with promise with a 2-0 loss to Berserker in round one followed by a 4-2 win against Bluebirds United FC.
But the wear and tear of travel and player numbers took its toll.
The Eagles did not concede double-digit scores once in 2016 and Horton said they were awkward proposition on their home pitch.
"As a club that travel more than half the season ourselves, we understand how demanding and tough it can be and we are only an hour up the road, so their commitment to the competition was outstanding because of the travel demands they had,” Horton said.
Horton said that the eight-team competition now an almost certainty, having continuity is a bonus.
"One positive is it will be good to have three full rounds with no byes as opposed to having more weeks off as we already miss quite a few through long weekends etcetera with nine teams,” Horton said.
"A 10-team competition would be ideal.”
It is a measure designed for the Eagles to potentially re-enter the competition in 2018 according to Rockhampton Football manager Jim Douglas.
"There was just not enough numbers and it has been a big concern in this area with economic downturn,” he said.
"Also with the regular travel to Gladstone, Yeppoon and Rockhampton and that's the big issue - travel and time.”
He said a re-structure of the zones is one of the options in order to help promote the game and prompt a less-serious competition.
"Perhaps it is an opportunity for our governing body to be reconsidering the structure of zones so we can find easier ways to enable the outlying centres to play games against one another and better develop the game,” Douglas told The Morning Bulletin.
"Hopefully they can construct some kind of local comp to keep players in the game at least and try and build for next season.”
Emerald finished last in season 2016 with just one win, two draws and 13.
A draw for the 2017 season will be released in coming weeks.