THREE Farrer League clubs have confirmed their intention to apply for the restructured Riverina League 'premier' competition next year.
Applications close for the premier league on Sunday and East Wagga-Kooringal, Marrar and Northern Jets will be among those vying for a place in the top competition.
North Wagga are still weighing up their options ahead of Sunday's deadline but have cooled on the idea.
The restructure of AFL Riverina competitions was met with strong criticism earlier this year after more details were revealed at a launch in February.
AFL Riverina have since backflipped on the proposed name changes, opting to keep the Riverina and Farrer League identities, but will otherwise push ahead with the restructure.
EWK president Paul Bourne is still concerned with elements of the restructure but confirmed the Hawks will move forward with their desire to return to the Riverina League.
"That's been our goal all along," Bourne said.
"Ultimately we'll apply, although it may be a bit ambitious, we want to be proactive, we want to better ourselves and we've worked really hard the last two years, and this year definitely, on our juniors, they're crucial for our survival moving forward.
"We tick a lot of boxes in the format to join the RFL, the only one box we don't tick is 17s at the moment, and you'll talk to a lot of Farrer League clubs...but trying to get 17s in that Farrer League comp is very difficult.
"We feel that we've got eight or nine together there now that we can get back next year for that 17s comp but we feel that being in the RFL that it would help us field a 17s side."
Northern Jets president Simon Gaynor confirmed the Jets are pushing ahead with an application and encouraged more Farrer clubs to do so.
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"We're putting our expression of interest in and keeping our options open," Gaynor said.
"Just to get all our teams a game of football and netball week in, week out. We may not be as competitive as we'd like but we'll have teams right through. We've got to look at what's the best move for the club and we don't want any more byes.
"I hope if everyone fits the criteria, we can all play together. I just hope if we meet the criteria, I hope we can get in. If we don't meet the criteria, I know we're not worthy of that league but if we do meet the criteria, we should go in."
Marrar president John Carroll has been an outspoken critic of the restructure but confirmed the Bombers will apply to join the premier league.
"At this stage we're going forward with an application to the RFL. We're all worried about how many kids we'll lose," Carroll said.
"We believe if we don't look to be going forward it's going to be bloody hard to keep players."
All three clubs remain concerned with various elements of the restructure.
The salary cap and player points difference between the two competitions, along with the potential for clubs to join the Farrer League with one team, are the clubs' biggest issues.
"If they try to restructure the Farrer League too much, they're going to kill it," Carroll reiterated.
"The Farrer League name has changed but the structure hasn't. You've got to look at the whole picture, the whole sport, you want greater depth across the whole region, not just the main clubs," Gaynor added.
Bourne concedes the road back into the premier league may not be smooth, but maintains that's where the Hawks want to be.
"We're not going to walk in there and be ladder leaders or anything like that, we'll get our pants pulled down on occasions, we just think that our age groups that are coming through, from under 13s say, that's four or five years away, but from then on we'll be very sustainable with our juniors. That's what we're trying to get right," he said.
"The club would love to be back in the RFL. Ultimately, it's out of our hands, but we've got to keep doing what we're doing."
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