Buccaneers Steven Borg.
Buccaneers Steven Borg. Alistair Brightman

Wide Bay Buccaneers plan for junior growth

FOOTBALL: A newly-organised academy and 12 hours of trials will kick-off a month of serious preparation for the next Football Queensland Premier League season, and the much-vaunted trial game against the Brisbane Roar.

Players ranging from under-9s to senior men will have the opportunity to trial for the Wide Bay Buccaneers on the next three Sundays.

Held at Hervey Bay's Tavistock St fields, Bundaberg's Martens Oval and Isis State High School, Childers, respectively, the three-week trial program will allow players currently involved with Football Queensland Wide Bay clubs the chance to earn a place in the club's second season.

It is a season Buccaneers president Stuart Taylor believes will be more successful than what the juniors experienced this year.

While the senior teams struggled for results, two Buccaneers teams finished in the top five. The under-15s finished third and played in the finals.

Players who earn selection in the Buccaneers will immediately hit the training paddock ahead of the late November trial against the Roar.

The trial, to be held in Brisbane, is one of the key commitments out of the co-operative agreement between the Buccaneers and the A-League club.

Taylor's belief is built on current coaches and players' development - after a year in the FQPL those players have experienced and now know what to expect in the competition - as well as the potential for talented Wide Bay club-aligned players to join the side.

"We have a really strong core of players in those under-14s to 16s age groups, and we're really excited about the players who will progress from the SAP (skills acquisition phase) program to the 13s,” Taylor said.

The club will this year implement the Buccs Academy, which will include SAP players (U9s-U12s) as well as four players from each of the junior FQPL teams (U13s-U16s).

Each of those four-player groups will train with the Buccaneers each week but remain attached to their Wide Bay club. There is potential for those players to earn a place in the FQPL squad.

The Buccs Academy will form a bridge between the FQPL and club football.

Taylor said FQPL players have already shown immense improvement after a season in the state competition, but the club had to reduce the risk of developing a gulf in class between the FQPL and Wide Bay-based players.

"We want those players to be able to develop with the FQPL, but also take those skills back to their club,” Taylor said.

"We've been learning a lot since our partnership with the Roar, and we've learned from some of the mistakes we made last season.

"We have a full year of foundation we can build on.”

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