Narrabri Eagles fold and Cougars on the ropes

NARRABRI faces the prospect of no presence in either the regional AFL or soccer competitions next season.

There is some hope the Cougars will manage to get the numbers to avoid folding and play in the Northern Inland Premier League but for the Eagles, their season is over before it’s even started.

They’ve already informed Tamworth AFL officials they won’t be fielding a team.

The Cougars had also contacted officials to say that it didn’t look like they’d be able to nominate for next season but a story about them folding in the Narrabri Courier prompted a renewed interest.

“Since they’ve run the story in the paper it’s raised a few people who don’t want to get out of it,” Cougars president Brock Smith said.

“We’re trying to make it so it doesn’t happen.”

Smith said it was both committee and players they lacked.

They probably had about 20 players, which isn’t enough for two teams.

Last season they would have used at least 30.

But from the talk around there may be a few more people keen to get involved.

The first step is to get a clear indication of how many people are interested in playing and being involved and, from that, start to form a committee.

Then they can work on getting other players.

There are still a few challenges to that. One of the main ones is the tyranny of distance.

“In the old competition our longest trip away was one hour and 10 minutes. Now it’s three hours,” Smith said.

That’s made it harder to keep players on the field.

Smith though is optimistic they can remain in the competition.

It’s too late for the Eagles.

They had to withdraw from the competition this year and have been unsuccessful in their attempts to reform after a disappointing response at a meeting last Friday night.

“We didn’t get enough support from players and committee to form,” former coach Phil Dennis said.

“We probably could have formed a committee at a pinch but we only had 16 players who said they’d definitely play.”

He was expecting a better turnout but it was a similar situation last year.

“A lot of people said they were going to play but didn’t front up,” Dennis said.

In the end a few of the Eagles played with Gunnedah.

About five did that.

Dennis was especially disappointed for the younger kids.

There’s a few high school kids coming through who were keen to play.

Hopefully they will have a team to play in in the future.

o Anyone interested in being involved with the Cougars can contact Smith on 0427 921036.