THE Yoogali Wanderers look set to break away from the local competition and play in Wagga after the fledgling club was sensationally blocked from joining the Griffith District Football Association.
Despite being unanimously approved by GDFA member clubs at the start of January, the Wanderers were blindsided on Monday night at an association meeting when the new outfit was told it would be denied entry this season.
The controversy stems from the same criteria that stopped the Yoogali Soccer Club from returning to the Regional Premier League last month.
To enter an external competition like the RPL, clubs must first field a first-grade and reserves side, and either a women's or under 18s team in the local league.
It is believed the Wanderers - an off-shoot of the Yoogali Football Club founded this year - were asked on Monday night to prove it could meet these same demands, which is thought to be the first time the criteria has been applied to a new club.
Once the Wanderers revealed they did not have a women's or under 18s side a majority vote saw them barred from entering the GDFA.
Association president Matthew Curran not present at the meeting, which was instead chaired by his deputy Luke Testoni.
Curran told The Area News he was not aware the vote was on the agenda and said he would fight to reinstate the Wanderers.
"I don't want to see them go anywhere," he said.
"If they don't comply with the other teams - the 18s and the women's - well, at the end of the day there's only so many people in Griffith that want to play.
"There is precedent set over the years when they let in Hay, Deniliquin and Yenda but they never fulfilled those duties either."
It is understood that Yoogali powerbrokers moved to register the YFC women's team under the Wanderers name to fulfil the criteria, but this proposal was met with fierce opposition by players and parents.
However, even if Curran is able to overturn the majority vote and allow the Wanderers back into the GDFA, furious players and officials will still seek to join the Wagga competition.
The Wanderers have already made contact with Football Wagga, which is prepared to welcome the club with open arms.
"The Yoogali people are very disappointed this has happened after the effort they went to, organising a first-grade and reserve-grade side," a source close to the club said.
"There's not a lot of women or under 17 players around Griffith that aren't already with a club.
"They tried everything - advertising in the paper, Facebook, everything - to try and make it but they virtually got kicked out because they couldn't do it."
Testoni declined to make a comment on the saga.
In January, Curran told The Area News the Wanderers "(had) the numbers and they fit our criteria to register. It gives us another team in the competition and that's what it's all about."