Cootamundra's bid to rejoin the Farrer League is set to face resistance with some clubs concerned about the impact of bringing in a club with limited grades.
The AFL Canberra club's hopes of entering reserve grade football and two grades of netball wasn't met with widespread enthusiasm by a handful of Farrer League clubs canvassed by The Daily Advertiser.
"Not at all. We've all had to jump through hoops to meet the league criteria. And to bring in a senior team playing reserves, I don't feel that that's really on the cards," Coleambally president Glen Tooth said, adding that news of Cootamundra's two years of talks with AFL Riverina was a surprise.
"The whole thing's a fair shock, considering we had the league meeting early this month and there wasn't a single sound murmured about it," he said.
Coleambally joined the Farrer League a decade ago, having previously been in the Hume League and the Coreen League.
Tooth and his fellow presidents stressed they held nothing against Cootamundra, and applauded the club's ambition to improve.
"I'm happy for any club to try to better themselves, and good on them for doing that," East Wagga-Kooringal president Paul Bourne said, pointing out the Hawks have their own ambition of being in the running for the premier league.
"Good on them for trying and if they're allowed in the comp, we'll make it work however we need to. Good luck to them."
Many clubs believe the proposal isn't healthy for the Farrer League, particularly on the eve of the AFL Riverina restructure which is set to be unveiled for 2023, which plans to scope for second grade sides only in the third tier community league (or reserve grade of the platinum competition).
"I'd love to have Cootamundra join if they can bring some 17s, and have a first grade, reserve grade and more netballers," Northern Jets president Simon Gaynor said.
"But we can't be a club where half the club's playing, half the club's not playing. If you want to be in our league, it needs to be with the same protocols as the other clubs.
"We want all our members playing football and netball. We don't want to be torn apart."
Cootamundra's bid hit on a broader issue for the Jets: protecting the Farrer League's future.
Other presidents declined to speak on the record, having not discussed it with their clubs, but the prospect of some lower grades playing on a bye weekend wasn't popular. One suggestion was that Cootamundra try to form a merged entity, with a club like Young for example.
Jeff Mickan, the playing president of the Farrer's League's most recent addition, said Barellan was unlikely to oppose the bid.
"I think any venture is interesting and possibly adds to the competition. Having only one grade of football, and it being the lower grade, is interesting but we'd be supportive," Mickan said.
"We were allowed into the competition and we appreciated clubs looking favourably on us trying to get in."
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