Western Premier League won't return in 2014

FOOTBALL

“THERE is no chance of a Western Premier League return next year.”

Former WPL president Jim Auld pulled no punches regarding a potential return of the defunct competition.

The WPL folded at the end of 2012 and Auld said a lack of interest meant the area would continue with no regional competition.

“There is nothing coming from Bathurst or the other areas, apart from Orange,” he said.

Orange footballers still have the chance to play in a high standard competition, with the Western NSW Mariners in the State League competitions, but in echoing Auld’s disappointment, Waratahs president Darren Sinclair said it wasn’t feasible.

If players were to represent the Mariners, it would mean travelling between Bathurst and Mudgee each week for training, then regular trips to Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Mudgee for games.

“The travel was the problem in the WPL, and it still is now,” Sinclair said.

“It is disappointing to see the WPL not run again, but people just don’t want to travel that much.”

Sinclair said Waratahs had not felt the effect of the competition folding, but knew other clubs had.

“We didn’t lose any players directly because of the WPL folding, our blokes just play in the local competition now. But we did have to split our first graders up between several teams to ensure fairness among them,” he said.

Sinclair said initiatives from Western NSW Football to reintroduce the competition would be welcomed and Waratahs would immediately nominate a team in all three grades.

“We would love to see it come back, and would definitely supply a first grade, reserve grade and under 18s team,” he said.

Auld said the potential for the WPL to return remained, but hinged on interest of all the towns immediately involved.

“There is always a possibility,” he said.

“Maybe in a couple of years when new players are coming through the ranks, the interest could come back.”

matthew.findlay@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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