NEW CHALLENGE: Past Brothers women, last year's champions, will face more competition this season.
NEW CHALLENGE: Past Brothers women, last year's champions, will face more competition this season. Brian Cassidy

More teams to qualify for finals in new women's BRL comp

LEAGUE: There will be just as many finalists in the women's Bundaberg Rugby League competition as the men when the season starts on March 30.

The NewsMail can reveal five teams will qualify for the finals after the BRL and Gladstone Rugby League competitions merged for this season last month.

There will be six teams in the competition with Past Brothers and The Waves to represent Bundy with Hervey Bay, Valley Roosters, Tannum Sands and Wallabies to make up the rest.

The last three teams come from Gladstone.

The format for the finals will be the same as the men's A-grade BRL competition with the top five making the finals.

The minor premiers, first on the ladder, will have a week off and face the winner of second and third, who battle in week one, in the second week for a spot in the grand final.

The loser of second and third will face the winner of fourth and fifth, who battle in week one, in the second round with the loser of fourth verses fifth eliminated.

The winner of that match will face the loser of the minor premier and either second or third on the ladder for the second spot in the decider in week three.

"We did it to make sure every club was still interested and still in contention heading into the final rounds,” BRL chairman Mike Ireland said.

"There's nothing worse than getting to the final third of the season and teams have nothing to play for.”

The draw has also been released for the competition, which sees 15 rounds of action.

All sides play each other three times with matches to be played in Gladstone in four venues and Bundaberg at Salter Oval and Brothers Sports Complex.

Hervey Bay will host at Eskdale Park and Stafford Park.

No team from Bundaberg or Hervey Bay will have to travel to Gladstone more than five times in the regular season.

The Waves have 11 games in Bundaberg with Brothers having eight.

Hervey Bay has 12 games in Bundaberg and on the Fraser Coast with four matches at home.

For Gladstone sides, Tannum and Wallabies will be travelling to Bundaberg and Hervey Bay more than five times this season.

"Everyone is happy with the draw and both the GRL and BRL are pleased with how it works,” Ireland said.

Ireland said teams will have monetary assistance provided to deal with the travel with more prize money available.

The competition will also have prime time football for the first time with Brothers and The Waves to face each other at 7.45pm on June 8.

Past Brothers, the defending champions, start their season against Wallabies at Salter Oval on March 30 with Hervey Bay facing The Waves at Eskdale Park and Valley Roosters to face Tannum.

To view the draw, head to the BRL app or online to The draw is also in tomorrow's NewsMail.