Group 9 could drop reserve grade competition

The Young Cherrypickers might not get a chance to defend their Group 9 reserve grade premiership in 2020.

It doesn’t make for good reading but the Group 9 reserve grade competition could be dropped altogether in 2020 if clubs struggle with player registration numbers.

With season structure and a shortened competition and finals series on the cards, clubs could be forced to focus all of their attention on first grade, leaving lower grade competitions until the last minute.

Blues president Bryan Black was hopeful a reserve grade competition would commence and believed Tumut would field a side, but was not as confident other clubs were in the same position.

“I would love to see it get up and going but I don’t know if every club can sustain it,” Black said.

“We probably can field a reggies team as a club because we have the numbers but most clubs will just want to worry about their first grade side, which is understandable.”

Black said that if Group 9 decide to drop the reserve grade competition this year, it shouldn’t impact the years to come, and believed it could create more competition for first grade spots.

“It shouldn’t affect future competitions, well I hope it wouldn’t; if anything, it should make the boys more keen to play the next year,” Black said.

“It will also entice the fringe players, who might have missed initial selection in first grade, to want to be hungrier and to make that first grade team.”

Group 9 board member Andrew Hinchcliffe didn’t want to sound too pessimistic with his view, but said that pressure on reserve grade teams was unavoidable.

“We know that this situation is going to stretch clubs and teams,  but we have not really being tracking where they are at the moment,” Hinchcliffe said. 

“We know clubs and teams will be impacted, but until we have a better idea of registration numbers, we really can’t do anything.”

Personally, Hinchcliffe felt certain clubs would struggle to field some teams, similar to the Temora Dragons already ruling a line through their under 16s.

If anything, Hinchcliffe believed the best-case scenario was a new-look reserve grade competition, with a reduced amount of clubs involved.

“It is going to be tough and based on my gut feeling, there is going to be major impact in reserve grade, and clubs will struggle to field sides,” Hinchcliffe said.

“Right now, we can only hope that we get enough sides to form some sort of competition.”

Hinchcliffe is hoping clubs are pushing for their players to register, in a hope that a clearer picture of each competition could be painted for competition oraganisers.

“We don’t really have a focus on any one competition at the moment, it is just about getting footy back up and going and understanding where clubs will sit and how they will be challenged by this situation,” Hinchcliffe said.

“We need clubs getting players registered, so they can make an informed decision about the season ahead, so we urge those players to get it done sooner rather than later.”