Leeton-Whitton have every intention of playing a part in AFL Riverina's new 'premier league' in 2023.
The Crows confirmed to The Daily Advertiser that they don't intend to relinquish their spot in the top flight, although they harbour some reservations about some of the requirements.
"We're going to aim for it, there's no doubt about that," Leeton-Whitton president Tim Carroll said.
"There's a few of the criteria that are going to be very difficult to achieve and I think are probably unnecessary... but we do (see ourselves as a premier league club)."
The Crows won't have a women's football team this year in the expanding Southern NSW competition but hope to be good to go for 2023.
(Griffith, Narrandera, Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong and Collingullie-Glenfield Park have previously played while the other Riverina League clubs, Wagga Tigers, Turvey Park, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, and Coolamon are pulling sides together for this year).
"That's one of the things we see that might be difficult. I know they'll have double-headers and things but the travel of a Friday evening is something I think that will be a problem," Carroll said.
"We've had a bit of a chat to the rugby league and rugby union girls and they're quite keen to come and have a go. So I think we will get the numbers.
"But I think, because we're out this way (the Friday night league) might be an issue.
"We won't have a team this year but we'll use the next 12 months to put a plan and some action in place so we have one for 2023."
The Crows ended a long premiership drought in 2017, winning their first ever Riverina League flag.
They were grand finalists in 2016 and runners-up to Wagga Tigers again in the 2020 AFL Riverina Championship when a host of talented players were back home for the COVID-affected year.
They have a proud history of producing AFL players too, including Cooper Sharman, GWS Giants gun Jacob Hopper, Kurt Aylett and the recently-retired premiership player Jacob Townsend.
Carroll said there's widespread support for a proud club to keep aiming up.
"At an executive and committee level we'd looked at the criteria and said that some of these are going to be difficult to achieve," Carroll said.
"So we called a club meeting and the focus from there was that we've certainly got to aim to be in the premier league. Otherwise we're going backwards and we don't want to be.
"That was also to make people aware of what the criteria is so everyone's going in with their eyes open."
Carroll said they're currently improving change rooms. He acknowledged lighting could be an issue but it's something they'll hope to address with the help of any available grants.
They believe some of the governance requirements, including club audits, are onerous if they add to the costs of running the club.
"I can understand where they're coming from but I'm not sure it's necessary for a league that's been run pretty well for the last how many years," Carroll said.
"I'm not sure that it takes the level of commitment on some of these things that they're asking for. We're not too worried that we won't be able to achieve it but I just think some of those things are unnecessary."
The Crows have confidence in their junior pathways. They are already ramping up their focus on reserve grade numbers for 2022 to address the issues with depth that have plagued their second grade side at times, including forcing a forfeit at one point last season.
"We've appointed a second grade coach (Luke Trembath) early this year. He's very keen and that's generating interest and helping get the numbers going," Carroll said.
AFL Riverina's timeline for this year is to announce the names and structures of the new competitions in February, receive nominations from March, and finalise the leagues by August.
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