EAST Loddon is in and Maiden Gully is out of what will be a Loddon Valley Football-Netball League under-18 competition that will again feature only four teams this year.
The LVFNL under-18 competition will comprise Marong, Bridgewater, Inglewood and East Loddon.
East Loddon is a newly-formed team that is made up primarily of players who go to the East Loddon P-12 College, which serves the towns of Dingee, Mitiamo, Raywood, Serpentine and surrounding areas.
The new team will be coached by Jade Clymo and has been training for the past three weeks at East Loddon P-12 College.
"I think it will work... the kids are all good friends already and we've got good people involved in getting it going, so I think we'll be fine," Clymo said.
I think it will work... the kids are all good friends already and we've got good people involved in getting it going, so I think we'll be fine- Jade Clymo, East Loddon coach
Last year's four-team under-18 competition comprised Maiden Gully YCW, Bridgewater, Marong and Inglewood.
Maiden Gully YCW was the clear standout side of the competition, finishing on top of the ladder with a 13-1 record and huge percentage of 338.3.
However, the Eagles - a perennial power of the under-18 competition who played in every grand final between 2016 and 2019 - have opted not to participate this year.
"We advised the league prior to Christmas that if it wasn't going to be a stronger competition than last year we'd be unlikely to compete this year," Maiden Gully YCW president Chris Garlick said.
We advised the league prior to Christmas that if it wasn't going to be a stronger competition than last year we'd be unlikely to compete this year- Chris Garlick
"If you look back at last year and the strength of the under-18s, our main competition was Marong and they are basically going to be a team of bottom-age players this year and we'd be a top-age team with the same team, so potentially there would have been big wins and not the opportunity for development for the kids."
Maiden Gully YCW applied unsuccessfully to enter an under-18 team in both the Bendigo and Heathcote District leagues for this year.
With no under-18 team this year, Garlick said the majority of players who would have been part of the side have joined Bendigo league clubs.
Although the under-18s are in hiatus this year, Garlick indicated the Eagles would have an under-18 team competing again in 2023.
LVFNL chairman Simon Tuohey said that while it wasn't an ideal scenario for the league to only have four teams competing again in the under-18s, four teams was better than the alternative of no competition at all.
"We're forging ahead with four teams... five would have been better and six would have been better than that, but at the end of the day, Maiden Gully has made its choice, which for us is disappointing," Tuohey said.
The fixture for the under-18 competition is still to be finalised, with Tuohey indicating all games would be on a Saturday rather than last year's model which featured some Friday night games.
Anyone interested in playing with East Loddon can contact Clymo on 0429 366 302.
The LVFNL season starts on Saturday, April 2.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.