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Byron Shire
March 5, 2024

Local AFL teams join forces to take on SE

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After winning the Northern NSW AFL flag last year the Byron Magpies will amalgamate with the Ballina Bombers in 2024. Photo supplied

The Byron Magpies and the Ballina Bombers senior teams will play together this season as the Southern Stingrays in the hope that strength in numbers will give them a good showing in the SE Queensland competition.

‘We realised we probably wouldn’t have the numbers to play strong teams in both seniors and reserve grade across the season, which is what you have to be able to do if you register in the SE Queensland Division 2 competition,’ Bombers president Trent Rees said.

Last year the Byron Magpies fielded only a senior team so had to play in the Northern NSW AFL competition.

There won’t be a merger of the clubs as such, and each will field senior women’s teams under their regular club colours.

With the current players they have signed on, Trent is positive the amalgamated Southern Stingrays will be able to have every chance of success in a ‘very competitive’ competition.

‘We had talks with Byron Magpies over the summer and it was clear that the best way for them to get back into SE Queensland, and for us to stay there, was to amalgamate the men’s sides,’ Trent said.

The team won’t play in red, white and black as these colours are already taken in the competition as are the nicknames ‘ bombers’ and ‘magpies’. We are still working out what the new colour palette will be,’ he said.

The draw hasn’t been decided, but the idea is for home games to be shared between the Cavanbah Centre and Ballina. Training is also expected to be shared between the two towns.

The move will also cut down on travel time for Byron Bay who had to venture to Port Macquarie for some games last year.

The Byron women are also seeking to be registered in the SE Queensland competition for 2024. The Bombers women were in this league last year and will play there again in 2024. SE Queensland AFL only requires one women’s side per club.

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