Orange Tigers president Andrew Nelson has backed the AFL Central West's move to a two-tiered competition in 2020.
In a meeting with clubs at the end of last month, the AFL Central West flagged the return of a two-tier competition with the Tigers, Bathurst Bushranger, Bathurst Giants and Dubbo Demons to all put forward a second side which would play in a four-team reserve grade.
The grade would play when those clubs' senior sides clashed and would have byes when they played Cowra or Parkes, meaning some weeks would have three games in reserve grade, women's and first grade.
Nelson said the Tigers "had lost a lot" with the removal of the reserve grade side after the end of the 2015 season and it would be a boon for the club to be able to increase numbers.
"We're looking at it positively, it'll be really good for some of our younger players who might not be ready for senior footy just yet," he said.
"From a club perspective it'd be good to get more families and players involved, get more people in.
"It would increase the game-day experience having three games and also help the clubs with more over the canteen.
"We've got something like nine juniors who age out of the junior competition this year and reserves would be perfect for them."
The league floated the idea of playing just 16 in first grade if the numbers for a reserve grade couldn't be found, and Nelson said he'd prefer to remain at the usual 18 on the field in the top flight.
"From the players I've discussed it with we'd like to keep it that way. Playing 18 plus three (on the bench) isn't dissimilar to leagues in Victoria," he said.
"For clubs like Cowra, if they've got 24 and no reserve grade, they're better off with more on the field or you risk blokes missing out."
Nelson said he expected there to be "a few" older players return to the field in reserve grade, but said without a coach locked away in any of the senior grades and applications for that role still open that searching for players hadn't begun.
However the club will be looking towards new retention strategies developed by the AFL Central West in conjunction with CSU.
Nelson said it was heavily discussed at the league's meeting and said it sounded promising as a method to bring more numbers into the club.
"We'll be looking at untapped resources and hopefully lecturers will be able to decipher that," he said.
Nelson also heavily endorsed the league's proposed weighted fixture, which would hand Dubbo and Parkes extra home games and have the stronger clubs play each other more often.
"I think it's massive, we're lucky in we're in the middle and have to do the least travel," he said.
"Before last year we spoke about giving up a home game to Parkes if it helped keep them alive.
"If it helps them with more players and a side like Dubbo who are a bit weaker on the road then that's good for the competition."
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