CWAFL first grade competition stays the same, but juniors head in new direction

THE idea of a one-tier senior competition in the Central West AFL has been knocked on the head but a conference-style junior system looks set to go ahead in 2015 after the CWAFL mid-season meeting on Sunday.

All clubs involved in the league were in attendance, as the issue of trying to make the first grade competition more competitive was addressed.

There had been suggestions in the lead-up to the meeting that the idea of one grade for 2015 would be floated, giving clubs the option of entering one or two teams depending on numbers.

It was quickly canned, though.

All first grade clubs confirmed they would remain in the competition next year, with Young insisting they would be capable of remaining despite a tough return to the top grade this season.

Mudgee made it clear that they were not interested in going from reserves to first grade, something that had been forced upon them twice before.

“It was a fairly arbitrary meeting, there were no great fireworks or anything like that,” explained CWAFL general manager Tony Lewis.

“They all understand that there is a difference in standard at the moment across the teams but Young indicated that they are going to stick at it which is good news.

“There was some wide-ranging discussion, the idea of Mudgee going up was discussed but they said they’d been forced into it a couple of times and it wouldn’t work.

“The draw has been an issue with teams having a lot of byes but you can’t put a team into first grade that doesn’t want to be there just for the sake of the draw.”

ONE WEEK AGO: STRUCTURAL CHANGES ON THE HORIZON FOR COMPETITION

Dubbo indicated they would field more competitive sides next season in both firsts and reserves if they could avoid the same sort of injury issues that have plagued them this season.

It has also been revealed the Demons sought special permission from the board to register a handful of new players after the June 30 deadline, but were denied.

The Bathurst Giants suggested the possibility of fielding a senior team in reserve grade in 2015 but Lewis said that wouldn’t be happening for a while yet.

“The Giants were established as a junior football club that would feed into the Bushrangers,” he said.

“They would first need to establish themselves as a senior club, and fit a number of criteria like a home ground and those sorts of things. The idea of them having a senior team is a few years away yet.”

As far as the junior competition goes, it appears a formality that at least three conferences will be formed next year based on geography, with under 12 teams set to be involved from Grenfell, Cootamundra and potentially Forbes and Parkes.

“Young have already made contact with Cootamundra who currently don’t have any juniors - there is a car load or two who play in Wagga Wagga each week,” Lewis said.

“They’re having an Auskick carnival this weekend with Cootamundra involved. Cowra could easily be a part of that conference too.

“Dubbo are happy to do it as well. They were initially reluctant to play junior football on a Sunday but that’s the rule so they will have to go with it.”

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