Juniors an issue as Oberon withdraws from under 18s competition

OBERON will not field an under 18s side in the 2014 Group 10 season.

The club was forced to withdraw from the under 18s competition last week despite extensive efforts to bring a team together.

Oberon president Ian Christie-Johnston said he was disappointed the club was forced to withdraw from the youngest grade.

“We couldn’t get the numbers out of a small town without relying on kids who were way too young. It is very disappointing,” Christie-Johnston said.

The president said some players who were eligible for the Tigers’ under 18s side have stayed with the club, while others have taken up other opportunities.

“A few have gone to other clubs so they can still represent in their own age,” he explained.

“A couple have stayed and they’re playing in our first division side. Some of them are probably a good chance of stepping up to the top grade this season.”

Group 10 president Linore Zamparini said the Tigers would not be penalised for being unable to field an under 18s side this season.

“They tried right up to the end to get the numbers. They’ve been talking to the group about what they’re trying to do,” Zamparini said.

“No club has had any big issues with them not being in under 18s. They’ve still got the league tag, first division and premier league.”

The Oberon president said the club’s members were determined to get an under 18s side on the paddock in the future.

“Next year maybe,” Christie-Johnston said.

“It’s certainly on our agenda to work and promote our juniors. For some reason we seem to be struggling for numbers in the juniors. We’re working with the under 16s right down to the under 8s, because you can’t get senior footy without juniors.”

Zamparini said Group 10 would continue to assist Oberon any way they could to see them return to the under 18s competition.

With Oberon withdrawing, the club drawn to play them each week will have a bye in the under 18s.

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