DIVISION ONE: The South Burnett Saints will remain in division one of the AFL Darling Downs competition this season.
DIVISION ONE: The South Burnett Saints will remain in division one of the AFL Darling Downs competition this season. Keagan Elder

Saints stay up as AFLDD comp splits

INCOMING AFL Darling Downs regional manager Jeff Neumann is not ruling out a surprise premiership from the South Burnett Saints, after confirmation they will remain in the AFLDD top tier for the 2017 season.

"From all reports it was a bit of a surprise for them to make the finals (last season) but it's a testament to their development,” Neumann said.

"I look forward to seeing them out on the paddock in 2017 and who knows, maybe they'll go that one step further (and win the flag) this year.”

Returning to Toowoomba from a two-year stint as regional manager in Mackay, Neumann fills the role vacated by 12-year incumbent Keith Webb.

And he has had to hit the ground running, with the AFLDD competition restructure his first big project after last season's uneven competition.

"The restructure will bring back more competitive games of football,” Neumann said.

"When you look at last season, there were a few big margins. This gives those bottom teams an opportunity to develop their list.

"Ideally we'd love sides to have both division one and two teams, but at this point it's about having a competitive brand of footy and what's good for each individual footy club.”

Following a surprise finals appearance last season, the Saints were confirmed as one of six sides to contest for the division one premiership following a club delegates meeting in Toowoomba on Monday.

The other five teams include: University, South Toowoomba, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba AFC and the Saints' finals nemesis, Coolaroo.

"South Burnett being in the division one competition is great for them after the development they've shown in the last couple of seasons,” Neumann said.

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