BASKETBALL Wagga plan to hold a meeting on Thursday night to discuss the best plan of attack to revive their men's representative program after the Heat's withdrawal from this year's Waratah League.
A referee shortage has been cited as the main reason behind the decision, with the new board unable to find anyone locally willing to commit to the role.
Former players declined to comment on the situation on Wednesday, but took to Facebook to express their disappointment young local men's talent won't have an avenue to represent the city.
Wagga Basketball has also confirmed they won't appoint a president this year to replace the departed Julie Meecham, with Wade Willoughby taking on the junior competitions coordinator role and Michael McPherson senior competitions coordinator.
However, women's team the Blaze will take the court in search of a fourth championship in five years.
The Blaze will place the emphasis on the team's young local talent to take the next step this season after confirming they won't sign any imports for their Waratah League division one women's championship defence.
Americans Shakera Barnes and Khiani Clark both played pivotal roles in helping Blaze to the past two championships, but coach Peter O'Leary believes the new approach is the right one.
"The American girls won't come back, and I'm comfortable with that," he said.
"The decision to have imports the last couple of years was an association decision and we were happy with that too, but from a personal point of view I'm more comfortable developing our local regional players.
"That's what I've tried to mould the team around is being a regional team and coaching people from around the Riverina."
The Blaze won the title without imports in 2016 and O'Leary said the signs are there they can repeat the dose.
"The team that always gives us grief is Goulburn and without the Americans we beat them by nine points in our first game last year," he said.
"It just means the others will get more court time and a chance to shine. They have to back themselves, pick up the slack and get the points those two would normally get.
"We're putting together a team which is looking pretty good at this stage. We have ten players on the books but will still be holding open training sessions and trials for anyone else who may come out of the woodwork."
Meanwhile, Blaze youngster Amelia Hassett has helped the NSW Kookaburras under-18s to a strong start at the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in Albury.
The centre helped the Kookaburras to wins over South Australia (73-43), Tasmania (72-34) and South Australia (69-49), as well as a narrow 98-93 loss to traditional heavyweights Victoria Bushrangers.
Cootamundra product Alex Oliver's NSW Waratahs under-16s girls side won two of their first three matches.