BARELLAN is calling on the support of the community and members of parliament to help keep its club in the South West junior competition.
AFL Riverina made the decision last month to remove Barellan from the junior competition due to it not being able to field any football teams.
The club fielded three netball teams last year and had intended to do the same this season.
Barellan has started an online petition that has already received over 1400 signatures, calling for AFL Riverina to reinstate the club's netball teams into the South West junior competition.
Two Blues officials have also written to state members of parliament, Steph Cooke and Helen Dalton, making them aware of the situation.
Barellan junior president Jodie Landy insists it is important to highlight what exactly went on.
"I just wanted to give some insight to the way AFL board (five people) decided the fate of junior sport in the Barellan community," Landy wrote.
"There is so much investment from government to facilitate junior sport (including female) in small communities and in the general wider population. The AFL board had a solution to keep female junior sport accessible to the community and in all their wisdom chose not to.
"They had the support of majority of clubs for Barellan to participate with just the netball as they had successfully done in 2021.
"The AFL said they did not want to set a precedence for other clubs to follow but if they were ever involved in small towns, they would know that the communities would fight tooth and nail to maintain their football sides as did Barellan. If other communities are forced to follow suit maybe their structure they are trying to hold is not valid."
Landy went on to suggest had it been three football teams Barellan wanted to field, instead of netball, there would not be an issue.
"I'm disappointed in the decision makers who have forgotten they are there to represent the clubs," she said.
"My opinion is if we were fielding three football sides and no netball sides we would not have had to beg for our juniors to be allowed to participate in junior sport."
AFL Riverina chairman Michael Irons said last month there was three reasons behind the decision to remove Barellan.
One was the precedence it set, but he also pointed to current registration numbers that indicate Barellan will not be in a position to field junior football teams in the immediate future.
MORE SPORT NEWS
The third centered around the agreement Barellan entered the competition under, that they would field a football and three netball teams.
Irons has now also revealed that discussions took place last March with Barellan, where they were informed of the arrangement of netball only was for 2021 and would be reviewed.
It has also since emerged that only seven of the junior club's 27 registered netballers reside in Barellan, with many dual-registered to other competitions.
Irons said the matter could be resolved if Barellan were able to scrape together enough footballers for one team.
"In the correspondence prior to Christmas, we offered the opportunity to meet with the club and to date that hasn't been taken up," Irons said.
"The condition of their entry into juniors was that they are able to provide a football team, if they were able to provide a football team then we would be in a position to reconsider it."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: