Winnaleah Football Club will head into recess for just the second time in its 110-year history, after the Northern Tasmanian Football Association council voted against admitting the Magpies into its division 2 roster next year.
Winnaleah was forced to request admission after its only remaining North East Football Union opponent decided to head into recess, however, the NTFA’s member clubs and board declined the application with a 24-5 vote on Tuesday night.
NTFA president Paul Reynolds said the vote came after presentation from Winnaleah and lengthy debate from the council.
“A clear reason behind the decision was the availability of players,” Reynolds said.
“When the council had a look through the list of about 70 players provided by Winnaleah, the range of ages of those players was quite significant. It ranged from people in their 50s down to a number of players that would not be eligible to play in the NTFA division 2 because they weren’t 15 years old.
“The council was genuine that it did not want to see a club with such rich history go into recess, but the reality is that player numbers are already an issue for a number of existing clubs and a further draw on those numbers would be detrimental to the NTFA.”
Reynolds said the NTFA has left the door open to assist Winnaleah in the future, should circumstances change.
A deflated Magpies president Gavin Steele said his members have been left “very disappointed” and that heading into recess for the first time since World War I was inevitable.
“There was a bit of silence in the car on the way home [from the meeting],” he said.
“We won’t fold and I think if we had the option to re-submit our application next year, we might struggle to get the commitment from players again.”
Steele said he respects the NTFA’s decision but disagreed that the age demographic of Winnaleah’s playing list was out of whack with certain criteria.
“If you looked at a lot of other division 2 clubs, I think you would find that their playing lists would include some players in those age brackets, particularly in the reserves,” he said.
“It’s disappointing for our little town and community as there will no longer be any football played past Scottsdale in the North East.
“I feel for our players too because we have a lot of loyal players locally and from Launceston that have played with us for some years now, and they have enjoyed playing for the club, the town and with their mates.”
It’s disappointing for our little town and community as there will no longer be any football played past Scottsdale in the North East.Gavin Steele