The two clubs who fought out the first and reserve grade grand finals last season won’t be represented in the under 17s this year, after East Wagga-Kooringal fell short in its bid to field a team.
The competition will be reduced to five teams with The Rock-Yerong Creek, CSU and Barellan also without a junior grade.
The Hawks are suffering the consequences of their junior club not having an under 15s last season.
EWK president Steve Absolum said it’s an aberration, not a trend.
“It’s a one-off thing, strictly,” Absolum said.
“We didn’t have any under 15s so there was no-one to come up. If you had a handful to come up you’d be a chance. But the next two years in a row, we’ve got good numbers.”
Absolum said the Hawks had to make a call before the season rather than risk failing to meet commitments.
“It’s no good for the opposition or the club if we’re trying to scramble each week and struggling for players,” he said.
“If you don’t have the numbers, or go close, it’s too hard a drain on everybody each week.”
Absolum said they’ll be working closely with the Hawks juniors throughout the year to secure the club’s future.
TRYC haven’t fielded a third grade side for more than five years. The Magpies juniors recently launched a campaign to try to encourage more players amid concerns over their long-term viability.