TWO clubs have pulled out of the 2013 Central West AFL season.
Mudgee and Parkes indicated at a meeting on Sunday night they would not field senior teams this year.
Parkes played in the first grade competition last year and Mudgee lined up in reserve grade.
CWAFL general manager Tony Lewis said it was disappointing neither club would be represented this year.
“It’s sad but not unexpected. Both cited lack of playing numbers,” Lewis explained.
“Parkes had 26 on their books in 2012 and they’ve lost 13 players. Mudgee were always shaky and they’ve lost heaps of players too.”
Lewis said Parkes informed the CWAFL a month ago of their struggles and had since been proactive in trying, unsuccessfully, to attract more numbers.
Lewis added the two clubs were not folding.
Instead they would take a 12-month recess and hopefully return for the 2014 season.
Lewis said the CWAFL would work with both clubs to help them make a comeback next year.
He said part of that will be making sure both develop strong grassroots programs so they will have juniors to filter into the senior ranks and ensure their longevity.
The withdrawals mean there will be a bye in this year’s first grade competition and Orange, Dubbo, Young, Cowra and Bathurst will be left to battle it out.
Reserve grade will be reduced to four teams, but there won’t always be two games each weekend due to clubs travelling together.
Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo and Cowra will line up in the reserve grade competition.
Lewis conceded the withdrawals were not ideal.
“Is it the end the world? No,” Lewis said.
“We still have a viable competition. It’s a sign of the times in small towns.”
The 2013 CWAFL competition will start on Saturday, April 13.