THERE is still a long way to go but Mudgee Black Swans legend Mark O’Keefe is confident the club will be in the Central West AFL competition next year with a number of players showing interest in playing and one of the region’s biggest clubs backing their re-entry.
It is a good sign for the Black Swans who sat out the 2013 competition because of lack of players.
One CWAFL club in particular said they fully support a Black Swans' revival.
Bathurst Bushrangers, the competition’s most successful club, want to see Mudgee back on the field.
Although nothing has been confirmed, Bushrangers president Graeme Grundy said the Black Swans’ mooted comeback continues to gather momentum.
“At this stage we know that Mudgee are aiming to at least get a side back into second grade. I think it would be great if they were to come back,” Grundy said.
“The more teams we can have in the competition, across any of the grades really, the better. We will do whatever we have to in order to accommodate them and help them get going again.”
Two dozen players played in the Black Swans’ inaugural AFL 9s match at Jubilee Oval on Saturday.
A mixture of former Black Swans and new ones played four 10-minute quarters.
The players were split into two teams – Gulgong and Mudgee.
Gulgong led 36-24 at half-time before winning the match 61-49.
Former CWAFL and Black Swans best and fairest Kieren Bennetts, Michael Bourke and Brendan Tobin were the best on ground for Mudgee, and Tom Radford, Greg Reid and Aaron Taylor were the best for Gulgong.
About $300 was raised for the Bushfire Appeal.
Despite all involved having trouble with the interpretation of the modified rules, O’Keefe said it was a good day for the club.
“I’m happy with the turn out,” O’Keefe said.
“I’m more confident now than I was at the start of the year.
“A lot of the older players enjoyed the day but said they would not play. But I would say 80 per cent of the people there were keen to play next year.”