A golden age for football in Wide Bay
AUSSIE RULES: There is something a little bit nutty about this season's AFL Wide Bay competition.
The association yesterday kick-started the upcoming new season by releasing the draw for the senior competition and announcing a new sponsor as well.
Bundaberg business Pacific Gold Macadamias has become the major and naming rights sponsor for the competition.
"These guys are a local company supporting local kids and local sport," AFL Wide Bay vice president Paul Bennett said.
"(They) have come on board for the 2018 season, which we're excited for."
Pacific Gold Macadamias general manager Shane Johnson said the competition fitted what the company was all about. "The part we like was it is played in most of the growing areas of Queensland of macadamias," he said.
"This is our way of supporting the local communities and sporting areas."
The competition will see six teams compete in 18 rounds of action which start on March 24.
The season will start and end on the Fraser Coast, with the first round matches all hosted by Hervey Bay and Maryborough.
Bay Power will host Brothers Bulldogs at Keith Dunne Oval, Hervey Bay face The Waves at Norm McLean Oval, with new senior side Maryborough playing Gympie at Port City Park.
The women's grand final will also be held that day and is scheduled to be held at Bay Power's home ground, at night, as long as the new lights are working.
If they are not, the decider will be held at the Bombers home ground, which will also host the grand final on September 1.
The top four sides in the competition will qualify for the finals, with three weeks of finals to start on August 18.
"Competition is looking really good, quite positive," Bennett said.
"Every year this sport seems to be growing."
Each Bundaberg side will host nine games throughout the season, but both the Bulldogs and Eagles won't face each other on Anzac Day.
Instead, The Waves will take on the Bears in Maryborough on April 25, with Bulldogs facing Gympie at home on Saturday, April 28.
"We're just mixing it up this year," Bennett said.
"Bulldogs have opted not to play this year because it is on a Wednesday."
"They didn't want to take their players out during the middle of the week."
A full copy of the draw for juniors and seniors is expected to be online soon on the official AFL Wide Bay site.