SOUTH Tamworth or Hillvue Rovers might be stepping up to the big time in season 2014.
The Northern Inland Football Premier League may be looking for another side to enter if a planned merger between Narrabri and Wee Waa goes ahead.
The two southern conference sides have been struggling for numbers and were sometimes playing the same side in reserves and then Premier League.
This resulted in a few blow- out scores and some one-sided games.
A NIF Council Of Clubs meeting last Monday proposed the merger, with the two clubs having until Christmas eve to formally nominate.
Northern Inland Football president Steve Griffith said the clubs would form a much stronger side if they combined.
If the merger goes ahead, it would free up a spot for another side to enter the southern conference.
Armidale already has four clubs in the competition, whilst Tamworth only has three.
“Hillvue and South Tamworth are the two strongest local sides so there could be an opening for them to join,” Griffith said.
Not only could either club enter the Premier League, there is also a chance they could merge to form one team.
“The potential for them to get together and play as one team is there,” Griffith said.
“The door is open and it is an issue for the clubs to discuss.”
Despite Armidale already having four clubs, the Council of Clubs is also in discussion with SportUNE to rejoin the competition.
Another side that may take up the potentially open spot is Glen Innes.
Glen played in 2012 before pulling out of 2013.
“Glen Innes were very strong in the Armidale competition last year and many players want to play at the top level,” Griffith said.
“A few of them went and played for Inverell Joeys last year.”
Uralla and Armidale Ex-Services Wests are also clubs that may get a look in to the top level.
The Council of Clubs agreed that the current format of the league should remain as is.
There are 14 clubs split into two conferences with a full home and away round plus a bye before the finals.
“The clubs want to keep the bye and are happy with the way the season runs,” Griffith said.
Despite the number of clubs keen to enter, the merger will only open one place.
The Council of Clubs has given all clubs until Christmas eve to nominate.
“If there is a vacancy we will go back to Armidale and Tamworth to invite expressions of interest,” Griffith said.
“The full format and draw should be finalised by the end of January.”
The NIF Premier League season will officially kick off on March 29.