WESTERN MAGPIES SET FOR 2009 RETURN TO STATE LEAGU

The Western Magpies will rejoin a nine-team AFL Queensland State League Velocity Sports Cup first division competition in 2009.

AFLQ chief executive Richard Griffiths confirmed the reinstatement following ongoing discussions with the Magpies and significant progress by the club on and off the field over the past 12 months.

This comes after the Magpies have spent three years in the second division, winning the 2006 Pineapple Hotel Cup flag before losing to Palm Beach-Currumbin in the 2007 decider.

The Magpies have consolidated their off-field position and we believe they are well-placed to participate at the highest level of football in Queensland," Griffiths said.

The presence of a State League club in the western suburbs to provide a clear-cut pathway for talented young players in that region has always been a strategic priority, and we're delighted to be able to restore their first-division status."

Griffiths said the Magpies had deliberately been given a 12-month lead-in period to allow the club to fine-tune their preparations - in particular their player recruitment and football structures - so as to ensure a strong competitiveness from the outset.

"In is our desire to have a State League competition where all teams are vying for a spot in the finals and this will given them the perfect opportunity to make sure they've got everything in order for 2009," he said.

Magpies president Matthew Vowles said the club's Board, members and supporters were delighted with the outcome of recent discussions with the AFLQ Commission and was looking forward to returning to the first division.

"From the day we were relegated from the first division competition we set ourselves to fight our way back and a lot of people have worked very hard over the last two years," he said.

"It's a credit to their dedication that it has happened so quickly and we look forward to building on the momentum of the last two years."

The Sherwood-based Magpies were first admitted to the first division State League competition with Southport in 1983, and through a sometimes bumpy existence they tasted premiership success as West Brisbane in 1996 following a Sherwood - Western Districts merger.

But a strategic review of the first division competition at the end of 2004 saw them and the Mayne Tigers relegated to second division as the first division was cut from 10 teams to eight.

Griffiths said the AFLQ Commission had "no problems whatsoever" with the fact that the Magpies recall to the first division would make for a nine-team competition.

"It's not an issue - it works perfectly in the SANFL and the WAFL and it will be the same here," he said.


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