TAREE Soccer Club president Ben Sedlen said the Wildcats will speak to their players before a decision is made whether to nominate for next year's proposed Coastal Premier League.
Ten clubs - five from the Football Mid North Coast Premier League and five from the Coffs Harbour-based North Coast Football are expected to play in the competition in first and reserve grades. This was announced by Football Mid North Coast and Football North Coast this week. The concept has been endorsed by both boards.
While describing the concept as a 'great idea,' Mr Sedlen has reservations as to whether Taree would have the player depth or numbers to be involved.
"We're struggling for players for the premier league as it is,'' he explained.
"For us to be in this competition we'd need players now with clubs like Wingham, Old Bar, Tinonee and Lansdowne to get involved.''
These clubs are currently play in the FMNC southern league.
Mr Sedlen said there are some 'quality footballers' in the one grade southern competition. However, he added they haven't expressed an interest in switching to the Wildcats to play in the FMNC Premier League in the past. Taree will also field a side in the Southern League.
"Not everyone wants to play in the premier league because of the perceived extra travel or training,'' he said.
"There's no money in soccer and players are usually loyal to their own clubs and don't want to move to another one.''
Mr Sedlen added that the Wildcats currently have an aging roster and this could be another hurdle into nominating for the new competition with the added travel.
"We rely on older blokes, like Josh Ferris, Justin Atkins and myself to help fill the two (premier league) grades,'' he said.
"As I said, we'll be speaking to all our players before we decide whether we'll apply to play (in the coastal league).''
The Wildcats are the only Manning club in the FMNC Premier League. Mr Sedlen believes that 'geographically' Taree would be expected to be involved in the Coastal Premier League.
However, FMNC chairman Mike Parsons said submissions will be treated on merit and not geography (See story page 18).
Taree was a foundation club in what was known as the Oxley-Manning Premier League in 2000. This eventually morphed into the current competition.
The Wildcats have been semi-finalists for the past three seasons.
At various times Old Bar, Lansdowne and Wingham have played in the FMNC Premier League but are now in the Southern League. Old Bar won the grand final last year, defeating Wingham.
Parsons: Clubs to get a three year licence
FOOTBALL Mid North Coast clubs will be asked to nominate for places for the Coastal Premier League in June or July.
The competition is proposed to start next year.
Ten clubs, five from FMNC and five from the Coffs Harbour-based North Coast Football will take part in the competition. The new competition has the full backing of the Football Mid North Coast and North Coast Football boards. The two grade competition would be played over 18 rounds.
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons revealed the 10 clubs will be given a three year licence. He said the final decision on the clubs to take part in the league won't be made on geographical grounds.
"The board will review all the expressions of interest and we'll make a decision on the clubs we believe best suited for the Coastal Premier League,'' Mr Parsons said.
He said junior and senior numbers along with playing facilities will be factors in the final decision. Mr Parsons added the concept had been discussed with the FMNC clubs and received in-principle support.
The board will review all the expressions of interest and we'll make a decision on the clubs we believe best suited for the Coastal Premier LeagueFootball Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons
He concedes some may be concerned at the extra travel involved.
"Realistically Maclean could be the most northern point of the Coastal Premier League, with Forster-Tuncurry the southern point,'' he said.
"However, clubs will only have to travel five times outside the current boundaries of our premier league. We also hope to gain some sponsorship which would help clubs offset travel costs.''
Mr Parsons said the premier league will improve the standard of football on the Mid North Coast as well as providing a pathway to major competitions for younger players along with coaches and match officials.
Football Mid North Coast had expressed some interest in entering a team in the Newcastle-based National Premier League (NPL). However, Mr Parsons said a lack of adequate facilities in this area has thwarted this move.
He is confident the establishment of the coastal competition is the next best way to grow the code in the area.
Mr Parsons revealed a second tier, one-grade competition will be established for the four FMNC Premier League clubs not involved in the coastal competition.
Mr Parsons said this will be open for all clubs under the Football Mid North Coast banner and will be a stepping side for a club with ambitions to eventually push for a place in the Coastal Premier League.
"Clubs will have three years to work towards applying for a place,'' he explained.
"We could get an application from South West Rocks, or Bulahdelah. No club would be excluded,'' he said.