KYNETON has lost its fight to field a senior team in the Bendigo Football-Netball League this year.
The Tigers were unsuccessful in having 25 senior quality players signed by Thursday night and have informed the BFNL they won’t be fielding a senior team in 2013.
However, the club – which joined the BFL in 1932, but has a history that can be traced back to the 1860s – has not folded and the option remains open for the Tigers to field reserves and under-18 football teams, as well as netball sides.
“It hasn’t been an easy decision, hence we waited until the last minute before making it and unfortunately, the facts are there in front of us,” Kyneton president Cello Matricardi said yesterday.
“We fell a fair way short of the 25 players we needed. Even if we were around the 18 or 20 mark we might have been a chance, but we were nowhere near it.”
Matricardi said the club hoped to have a clearer understanding of what teams it would field in the BFNL this year after this weekend.
“If we don’t have seniors, our best option is to play with the rest (reserves and under-18s and netball), but we’ll just have to wait and see,” Matricardi said.
“We’ll just keep going with business as usual without the seniors and keep looking after the rest of our players, sponsors and members.”
It’s understood the Tigers have about 36 “reserve quality” players and around 27 under-18 players on their list.
“If you take the seniors out, there’s nothing wrong with our numbers, but the key component is that senior football team,” said Matricardi, who recently took over the president’s role from Anthony O’Connor.
“Our biggest negative is we don’t have the players for seniors.
“But the positive for the club is we do have numbers for our reserves, under-18s and junior numbers are good, as are our netball.
“So for the negative that is not having a senior team, there are still so many positives for the club.”
While the Tigers won’t be playing in the seniors this year, Matricardi is optimistic the club can bounce back and field a senior team again next year.
“We have spent a lot of energy trying to get a side up for this year,” Matricardi said.
“But now our energy goes into not only keeping the rest of the club going, but focusing on 2014.
“I’m very confident we can get a side back next year in the Bendigo league.
“I believe we can turn the corner and move the club back to where we believe it should be.”
BFNL chief executive officer Steven Oliver said the board would continue to liaise with Kyneton to determine what sides it would be able to field in the 2013 season, which begins in just 55 days when the Tigers are fixtured to play Gisborne on Good Friday.
“Their under-18s and netball numbers look fairly solid, but that will all be part of a review we’ll undertake into their participation levels,” Oliver said.
“We want the club to survive and we believe it’s vital to the community that they do.
“So the board has to weigh up how that will best look, but the second part of that is what is their long-term future?
“Their long-term future will be an absolute desire to get a full compliment of teams in 2014.
“Now that the decision has been made that there will be no senior team, we’ll work with them to assist them in their best strategy moving forward.
“We certainly believe their best fit is still in the BFL.”
With Kyneton withdrawing from the senior competition, it will create a bye this year.