A TEAM from Sydney has expressed an interest in taking part in next month's lucrative Real Juice Cup but it is unlikely new GDFA club Eastern Wanderers will be ready in time.
Brookvale FC, who last year visited Griffith for a Football NSW State Cup tie with Yoogali Wanderers, could enter the two-day knockout competition, according to organiser and Yoogali FC president John Sergi.
It would be the first time a team from outside of Griffith would be included in the nine-a-side tournament, which will run for the second occasion on March 15 and 16 at the Yoogali Club.
Brookvale smashed a disappointing Yoogali Wanderers outfit 12-0 last year but enjoyed their trip so much they are keen to come back, Sergi said.
"They came last time and really loved it when they were here - but they won't get it that easy this time if they come," he said.
"We will be persisting with the Real Juice Cup, it's something we really want to keep going.
"It's good for the game in this town and it'd be even better if we can bring more outside teams into the comp."
Andrew Douglas, coach of the Wagga-based Eastern Wanderers, has all but ruled out his side joining the race for the $4000 top prize.
He said the circumstances of the breakaway club's formation would not allow for it, with the Wanderers set to focus more on internal trials as they look to build a competitive outfit from scratch.
"If we were established over a 12-month period we'd re-assess our situation," Douglas said.
"But because we're a new club with new players we're probably going to be doing internal trial games and stuff like that to get ourselves right.
"I don't think we'll be ready for that sort of challenge, we've got a lot of hard work to do - that's the honest truth.
"We also don't want to be releasing too much of what we've got before the season starts - we want to make sure it's a bit of a surprise in the first round."
Douglas said the new Wagga side was "slowly getting there", but continues to meet resistance from rival clubs.
"Just the way we've set up, it's not the most ideal situation going in," he said.
"There's still a stigma in this town that it's a sort of us-versus-them mentality and that hurdle is a bit bigger than I thought it would be.
"But there's probably 10 players within our squad that were going to quit soccer if we didn't form this club, so we had to do it."
The prizemoney for the Real Juice Cup, which was won by GDFA champions Yoogali SC last year, has been marginally reduced but Sergi said he did not expect it to make a difference to the clubs that enter.
However, the structure of the tournament - seen as football's answer to the West Wyalong Knockout - has not changed.
The cup will begin in a round-robin format before the best-performers square off in the semi-finals.
Each team must submit a 16-man squad but unlimited substitutions are allowed.
The inaugural edition of the Real Juice Cup was a roaring success last year with a good crowd on hand at the Yoogali Club on both days taking in some high-octane nine-a-side football.