Plan to push under 16 youth football players further
FOOTBALL: In a push to extend talented youth players in Central Queensland, Joe Fenech wants CQFC under-16s to play in the CQ Premier League Reserves competition.
Fenech, CQFC's director of coaching, is in the middle of discussions with Football Central Queensland general manager Rod Cousins to see if there was a loop-hole which would allow 15-year-olds to play senior football.
"The under-12s, 13s, 14s and 15s all compete in state tournaments but the 16s do not, so we are trying to get them to play in the CQ Premier League Reserves competition ... the only thing holding us back is players have to be 16 to play senior football," Fenech said.
As well as reviewing administration and logistics with Cousins, Fenech said he wanted to liaise with clubs about his idea.
"I think it's important in the interests of unity to speak with the clubs if I'm taking the best 15-year-olds out of the competition - we need to make sure it won't damage the clubs," he said.
By playing in the reserve grade, under-16 players would be tested by better opposition, and would be helped in the transition from junior to senior football.
The worst-case scenario would mean the under-16s played in the local club competition, but Fenech said they would still be on his radar as he intended to keep an eye on all CQFC players and those in the wider football community.
Trials for the Australian Premier League club's 11 teams continue and the football side of establishing and developing the club had gone "swimmingly" - better than anticipated, Fenech said.
On Saturday, the under-15 training squad and under-14 triallists played a match at Rockhampton's Webber Park, which was essentially their final trial, the coach said.
"It was really just to have a look at individuals' decision-making during match play ... the coaches, myself included, were very impressed and there are a couple of players with lots of potential that we hope will show their true potential in 2013," Fenech said.
He said he expected to make the first APL squad announcements later in December when he would name the initial 20 players with a further 10 to be named in January.