HANWOOD coach Anthony Agresta insists Football Wagga's defending premiers have no intention of cherry picking the best players from the local ranks after Griffith District Football Association pulled the pin on their season.
The GDFA has joined the Albury-Wodonga Football Association in taking 2020 off, which could open up chances for Wagga clubs to secure some last-minute, high quality recruits before the season kicks off next weekend.
Hanwood rejoined Wagga's Pascoe Cup last year with the number of teams competing in Griffith's local league dwindling in recent times.
An approach from Yoogali FC to join them this season was rejected by Football Wagga
Agresta said the club is keen to develop its current players and not block their path to first grade by bringing in local players looking for a run.
"We've got a pretty good base of our own juniors and local players, especially fielding a third grade team this year which is going to be a lot of our kids coming through," Agresta said.
"We want to keep that and look after that, instead of getting a player coming in for a year and then taking off.
"We've done a good job with our juniors bringing them through, we wanted to look after them and give them an opportunity to hopefully play first grade.
"There's a couple here or there that may get an opportunity this year. If you've got other players coming in filling those spots, they won't get that chance."
Agresta said it was regrettable the Griffith competition has deteriorated in a town with a rich football culture.
"It's fallen by the wayside a bit, with the association a lot of teams hadn't been formed as yet and it was going to be too hard to get off the ground," he said.
"I don't think Griffith City were going to have a team again, Wests were 50-50, we were in the balance as to whether we would have a team locally now we're taking three teams to Wagga, and whether Yoogali SC would have a local team now they've gone to Canberra I don't know.
"It's been like that for year and that's why we made the decision to pursue Wagga. Every year you have teams coming in and out and you didn't know where you stood."