Byron returning to Gold Coast to play

Byron Bay Magpies will play in the QFA in 2024. Photo: Brad Greenshields

THE Byron Bay Magpies have entered into a joint venture with Northern Rivers neighbour the Ballina Bombers for the 2024 season.

The move means that the Magpies will be playing in the QFA this season with both Byron and Ballina joining forces to create a Men’s Senior and Reserve Grade team.

The Magpies joined the AFL North Coast for the 2023 season and the club’s men’s team won the Senior Men’s premiership with former North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow coaching the team while the Senior Women’s team just missed out on a finals berth.

One success Byron’s womens team enjoyed was midfielder Lilli Hutchings win in the AFL North Coast Best & Fairest award in a thrilling count that went down to the last vote

Byron Bay president Nick Rojo said the return to the Gold Coast is a better fit for the club but added that the Magpies have fond memories of their short time in the AFL North Coast.

“I had a lot of our players come up to me last year and said that the season in the AFL North Coast was the most enjoyable one they’ve had,” Rojo said.

“We’re so grateful to the AFL North Coast clubs who made us feel so welcome. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t even have a footy club right now.”

Byron Bay Magpies’ midfielder Lilli Hutchings won the AFL North Coast’s Women’s Best & Fairest award.