Power Surge For AFL Cairns
Thursday, March 31 2016 @ 12:29 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Footy in tropical North Queensland has been growing solidly now for many years and AFL Cairns will welcome their newest addition, and most compelling piece of recent evidence of that growth, on the weekend when they see the Pyramid Power club run out in a reserve grade match for the first time.
One of the best measures of growth is the ability of a code to not only sustain numbers, but tap new player markets and increase participation in the game. AFL Cairns has worked hard to ensure that junior growth has translated into growth at the senior club levels as well. Pyramid Power is a club that has followed that model as it moves from the sphere of junior football to the ranks of senior adult football.
The club commenced in 2005, almost as a phoenix of past district clubs the Babinda Magpies and the Centrals Aloomba Bulldogs. By the 1980’s both of those entities had vanished leaving a football void in the vast areas south of Cairns from Gordonvale to Innisfail, west to the Atherton Tablelands and east to the aboriginal community of Yarrabah.
The new entity started as a junior only club, and after rocky beginnings managed to gather huge participation and success off field as well as four junior flags on field. This success certainly gave momentum to the idea of one day fielding a team at senior level. That dream is about to come true as their first ever reserve grade team takes on the Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs this weekend.
AFL Cairns has given a two year period for the club to build a strong senior body to enable a first grade senior team for 2018.
As is often the case with junior only clubs across Australia, once players become too old for junior ranks they are forced to leave their original clubs to pursue senior careers at others. This was heartbreakingly true for Pyramid Power. Many of their players, made up of over 90% indigenous kids, had to not only leave the club but also the game. Due to a range of geographical, socio-economic, cultural and associated reasons, players could not necessarily fit into other clubs.
Now Pyramid Power has a pipeline to keep young talent at the club, which is good for the Power but also invaluable to AFL Cairns as they continue to grow the game in the face of a predominantly Rugby League population in Cairns and surrounding regions.
Seeing the Pyramid Power crew at this week’s AFL Cairns season launch certainly drove home the message that the club has reached the local “big time”. The amount of senior age clubs has now grown from seven to eight, but that means an increase of up to 40 more players in local competition which will grow further by 2018.
Many people have created the Pyramid Power story, but the drive and imagination of past president, Brett Kennerley, and current president Jim Floyd has bulldozed a path that will enhance the club, district and competition for many years to come.
At 1.00pm on Saturday, Pyramid Power will add another layer to the history of AFL Cairns when their reserve grade team takes the field for their first formal home and away match. It will be a victory for many people associated with Australian Rules footy in Cairns. A win on the scoreboard would just sweeten that deal, but that’s another story.