NEWBRIDGE has signaled its intention to re-join the Loddon Valley's under-18 competition and now the league hopes Maiden Gully YCW will follow suit.
Maiden Gully has withdrawn from the under-18s for the past two years, believing the competition hasn't been of a standard to best develop its players.
The Eagles have earmarked 2024 for a return of their under-18 side and appointed Josh Worsley as coach, but with the intention of playing in the Bendigo Football Netball League.
The BFNL had agreed to accept the Eagles' under-18s for next year, which would have kept the competition at 10 teams following the departure of Kyneton to the Riddell District league.
The move, though, was objected to by the Loddon Valley league leading to the AFL Central Victoria commission on Thursday night having the final say and upholding the LVFNL's appeal and denying the Eagles' under-18s entry into the BFNL.
"The reasoning behind our appeal is there is already a structured under-18 competition here," LVFNL chairman Simon Tuohey said.
"We didn't know anything about this until the process had already started. Bendigo's intent was to take Maiden Gully YCW and we appealed that decision and had all our clubs back it."
Bendigo's intent was to take Maiden Gully YCW and we appealed that decision and had all our clubs back it- Simon Tuohey
Maiden Gully YCW has indicated it will look at what options are available to appeal the AFLCV decision, while Tuohey says the league would be disappointed if following Thursday night's outcome the Eagles weren't participating in the LVFNL's under-18s next year.
"Absolutely we'd be disappointed," Tuohey said.
Loddon Valley is reinstating its under-18 competition next year under the banner of the LVFNL.
This year instead of there being an LVFNL under-18s, a Central Victorian Football League under-18s was run comprising Marong, the composite East Loddon Rams, Inglewood, Bridgewater and Pyramid Hill.
At this stage Tuohey expects those five teams to be competing again, while Newbridge has put the call out for players to reform its under-18s for the first time since 2019.
"Next year we could get our under-18s back to seven sides if Maiden Gully YCW puts a team in and I'd be really disappointed if they weren't in it next year," Tuohey said.
In the Eagles' last under-18 season in 2021 they were on top of the ladder with a 13-1 record when the season was abandoned before finals because of COVID.
Prior to that the Eagles had played in four-consecutive under-18 grand finals between 2016 and 2019 for one flag and three defeats to Pyramid Hill.