NORTH Wagga president Brendan Nilsen believes staying put in the Farrer League could be the Saints' preferred option ahead of an important club committee meeting next week.
The Saints sat down with AFL NSW-ACT staff last month to discuss the club's position ahead of next year's restructure of AFL Riverina competitions.
Clubs have until the end of the month to apply for the 'premier league' and North Wagga will discuss their options at a meeting next week.
The Saints were the first Farrer League club to signal their intention to aim up at the premier league but Nilson, personally, has changed his stance during the early part of the 2022 season.
"We're looking at our options at the moment," Nilsen said.
"We've had a meeting with the AFL guys a couple of weeks ago, as any club can do if they want, and just had a discussion around what our obligations are and what aren't our obligations.
"We haven't made a decision as a committee and a club yet but that will come. I would of told you in January that we've worked five years to get to this point, we were ready two years ago but then COVID and the recovery back from COVID and just our volunteer base, it's not quite there.
"I don't think our numbers in support are quite there, amongst the group at the moment. I'm talking to other presidents across the clubs and they're the same. No one's really jumped out of COVID and been yeah let's get behind the club, have a good year, everyone's just feeling their way.
"It's enthusiasm as well. We generally have pretty good numbers at training through football and netball but it's just dropped off."
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Nilson remains committed to the long-term goal of the premier league for North Wagga, but feels waiting a year or two might be the best play.
"At the moment, just personally, I'd be leaning to stay back another year just to see," he said.
"Definitely to play in the premier league would be our goal. There's a lot of noise going around but for me, it was already outlayed. I've just got to explain it to my new committee members, where we are, what are our options.
"If we did do it, we'd go to a football club vote, as well as a committee vote. Give them two weeks to vote at training, and that would only be players, committee people and life members."
Nilson said the problem associated with staying in the Farrer League is the under 17.5 football competition. This year, the Saints lost nine players due to the four-team nature of the Farrer underage competition.
"That's the big point. We've got to get the clubs to look at it. Clubs are just happy to go 'we haven't got 17s'," he said.
"If we do stay Farrer League we need to ask more questions about what we can do with the 17s comp for the boys. You're losing your future there and then. RFL clubs just suck the guts out of you."
Nilsen said there is a lot for the Saints committee to consider.
"What we're bleeding is 17s. The 17s comp is just that bad that we've lost nine kids. But if you look at the comp overall, the netball 17s has picked up to eight teams," he said.
"Yeah the numbers aren't that great around the seconds, for other clubs, but I can just talk on behalf of our club and our numbers aren't bad, seconds, firsts. Then our juniors, we're missing 14s and 15s, to feed up to that 17s position if we did go up.
"Club wise, we've got 300 members, we've got the girls team going well, we do the girls juniors, we've got it there, I just don't think our volunteer base is there."
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