​Myrtleford in danger of losing under-18s as numbers dwindle

MYRTLEFORD is on the verge of dropping its under-18 side.

Alpine Saints president Michael Quirk rated the club only a “slim chance” of playing with the issue set to be tabled during a league meeting on Wednesday night.

It would be the first time since the Ovens and Murray introduced the under-18 competition in 1973 that a club has been unable to field a side.

“We’re seriously in trouble,” Quirk said.

“Going into Christmas, our third grade coach Tristan Purss identified we had only 12 committed players and, of that 12, three will play senior footy throughout the year.

“Then one of our better kids in the thirds broke his wrist at basketball and another did a shoulder at training. That brings us back to seven.

“It isn’t looking great at the moment.”

The Ovens and Murray has been aware of Myrtleford’s plight for the past month.

“Two years ago we didn’t have an under-16 team and it seems to have followed the same cycle,” he said.

“It doesn’t help our situation with numbers through the gate and it impacts opposition clubs as well.”

A delegation of officials from Myrtleford, Beechworth, Bright and Whorouly will meet with AFL North-East Border to discuss a range of concerns on Thursday.

“We will try and get things on the table and see what is the best way forward for clubs,” he said.

“In my opinion if clubs think they can stand alone going forward they are dreaming.

“It’s a worry.”

Myrtleford’s under-18s won three matches last season to finish above Corowa-Rutherglen and North Albury on the ladder.