CQ athletes are migrating to other codes after COVID-19
COVID-19 has seen season cancellations for numerous codes including basketball and rugby league but players have not given up on a year of competition just yet.
With AFL among the small number of codes pushing ahead with a 2020 season, South Rockhampton and Gracemere Brothers have recorded an influx of players making the code swap including notables from The CQ Capras (rugby league) and the Rockhampton Rockets (basketball).
For the rugby league converts, it will be the prolonged distances and periods of running they will need to adjust to.
Capras hooker Aaron Teroi was among the code-hoppers at training on Thursday night and he hoped that as a Victorian with AFL familiarity, the transition would be smooth.
“Kicking I can do, but just running and kicking with fatigue in the legs is going to kick in,” he said.
However Teroi was not alone in making the switch. He confirmed numerous Capras players were looking to lace up for the AFL season.
“There’s a few more that want to come down and hopefully they do. It will help us out to keep the body moving,” he said.
Treroi stopped just short of naming Brothers as the home of the converts but he was confident his league teammates would look to stick together.
“Wherever the Capras go, the boys will follow,” he said.
Rockhampton Rockets’ Jaxson Zulian will be swapping the hard court for the grass field this year.
He said the contact come game day will be the biggest hurdle.
“I’ll probably get smashed a bit, I’m not the biggest player out here, I’m probably going to learn that there’s bigger people than me,” he said.
Coach Michael Rose was glad to host the converts and was confident they would have an important role to play in the team.
“It’s been a fantastic second preseason for us,” he said.
“It’s a good game, it really brings people in and once they start playing, it’s hard for them to leave so hopefully we can make a few converts out of them.”
Rose also said the club was in the process of establishing a partnership with the Woorabinda aboriginal community to give aspiring players a pathway into the sport.
Brothers have already hosted potential Woorabinda players but logistical costs of transport to and from Rockhampton has presented an issue.
Rose said the club would be seeking grants or other financial support in hopes to keep the partnership afloat.
Round 1 of AFL Capricornia kicks off on July 11 with the Brothers side to take on Gladstone at home.