Narrandera Lizards seniors side remains keen to tackle the 2020 season despite three clubs voting to pull the pin on the ProTen Community Cup competition.
The Barellan Rams, Goolgowi Rabbitohs and Hillston Bluebirds voted to sit out the 2020 competition at a ProTen board meeting on Tuesday.
Ivanhoe Roosters later made the decision not to play the 2020 season while Rankins Springs Dragons have vowed not to compete in any competition without a majority of ProTen teams.
ProTen acting treasurer Jamie Parsons said the remaining clubs were exploring other avenues for a revamped competition to get some form of footy played in our communities this year.
“There may be interest from other clubs in the area about joining our competition for this year,” Parsons said. “We are committed to doing what we can to get our teams back on the park in some form.
“For those who wish to play we believe it is beneficial to their mental and physical health as well as the well-being of our rural communities, local businesses and sponsors.”
Parsons said on Monday a further decision was pending following the withdrawal of Ivanhoe and Rankins Springs.
Narrandera Lizards vice-president and coach Troy Prior said players were still keen to take to the paddock despite the loss of 10 key players to Yanco-Wamoon Hawks.
But, following the Group 20 board’s decision to abandon the season, the Lizards are hoping to win back their players. Prior said the club would not be seeking players from those clubs who have stepped back.
“We are still committed – we want to keep it local and we are not out chasing blokes from other teams,” he said. “We want to bring footy back locally.”
ProTen director and Lizards secretary/treasurer Shaun Lyons said several clubs from the abandoned Group 20 league were interested in joining the ProTen competiton including Hay, Yanco and West Wyalong.
“Even though our comp is not as strong as the Group 20 comps, they will have to come back to our level,” he said. “At this stage, people are just looking for a game of football – every team in the comp will have good numbers if it actually goes ahead.
“The volunteers are just as keen as the players – hopefully everything will be going by July 18 but that’s not a guarantee.”
Lyons said it was understandable Barellan and Hillston sitting out the season as they were having difficulty with attracting the numbers.
“If we get enough young blokes, the older blokes won’t have to play at all,” he said.
Troy Prior conceded some older players were not keen to play following the interrupted season.
“We are still working through the COVID regulations so it is a bit hard to have a training run together,” he said. “I’m still trying to get my head around it to understand it all.
“The other clubs from the smaller towns are in exactly the same boat.”
Prior said the club had to guarantee a certain number of people through the gate to make the matches financially profitable.
“The competition won’t change with regard to rules but COVID will change a lot of things – there are so many questions.
“One minute you are playing and the next you’re not. I’m pretty sure it will go ahead on July 18.”
Prior expects players from the non-playing ProTen clubs this year to lose players to the AFL in search of a game.
“With us I’m not too sure, I’m hoping no but they might.
“Some of our players would rather sit it out and wait for the next season.”