Juniors, Wanderers to play on in GDFA


HANWOOD Juniors and Yoogali Wanderers look set to come back from the brink and play on in the Griffith District Football Association this season.

Rumors have swirled over the demise of the two clubs for months but both were given approval on Monday night at a GDFA meeting to remain in the competition in 2014.

The unexpected turn of events will see the number of sides in the Griffith first-grade rise to 10, with the addition of the Wagga-based Eastern Wanderers �- instead of falling to eight, which seemed more than likely at the end of last year.

GDFA president Mathew Curran, who told The Area News last month the Yoogali outfit had folded after just one season, said it was a boon for local football.

"This is what the game's about �- it's about people playing the sport," he said.

"I'm more about if they want to play, let them play. We're not about turning people away. The game's about growth.

"We could end up with a 10-team local comp, which is awesome."

Both Hanwood Juniors and Yoogali Wanderers finished well outside the finals last season, winning a combined four games between them.

The future of Juniors has been in the balance for more than a year after strong talk late in 2012 that the club would close on the back of their GDFA grand final triumph that year.

The topic flared up again at the conclusion of last season as their youth operations were taken over by parent club Hanwood FC, but the landscape changed last week when an impressive 23 players turned up to a meeting held to gauge interest levels.

"They've decided to give it a go," president Ross Patane said.

"The association said not a problem -� a first-grade and reserves team is fine, and we'll go from there."

The Wanderers will confirm inside the next two weeks whether their intention to play on will become a reality.

Many inside Yoogali Football Club consider the establishment of the Wanderers, who collected the wooden spoon in their inaugural season, as one of the main reasons why YFC struggled to keep up with the top two.

The Wanderers squad was made up primarily of players from YFC's 2012 reserve-grade premiership side but entered the top tier under a new name, wearing striking purple jerseys.

After winning just one game in 2013, the Wanderers appeared destined for the dustbin, but the club will now be rescued and could field multiple import players thanks to YFC's Pacific Islands connection through the Watkins family.

"I've got to see what sort of commitment we've got here before we do that but there's a few other players from Fiji," said Yoogali FC president John Sergi. "There's three at the moment that could come and there could be a few more.

"I've asked all the boys to come to training and we'll see what turns up. If they turn up there will be a Wanderers team.

"It'd be a good thing if we do get it going."

Sergi also plans to hold home games at Noe Santolin Oval on the same day for both YFC and Yoogali Wanderers in an attempt to unite the two clubs.

"If we take one oval they'll take the other oval. Once we do that we'll work together with the same committee that will run both," he said. "I never thought Wanderers was a bad idea, it just needs more commitment when it comes to the committee and things like that."

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