Civil unrest continues to boil under the surface for Wests Tigers junior clubs and lack of communication from NSWRL

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

On the surface, or from the outside looking in at least, the reunification of junior and senior clubs from Wests Tigers Macarthur and the Group 6 competitions in 2022 under the NSWRL banner seemed like an overwhelming success.

Some say it had to happen.

Yet what may have appeared like teething problems in the early stages has the chance of becoming a rot heading toward a new footy season.

It’s a long proud history across the region which dates back to 1914. Campbelltown City Kangaroos won their maiden premiership in 1946 undefeated. In 1970, Campbelltown Warriors and Campbelltown Collegians entered the competition.

In recent times, civil unrest and political moves have been the norm.

According to reports close to the situation, Group 6 clubs have been left frustrated by the setup of the junior competitions and the lack of communication with the NSWRL.

A major concern reportedly being the size and physicality of the Campbelltown clubs.

“There’s going to be a huge issue soon,” a source told the81stminute.com.

“It will be visible [the repercussions] in a few years when the consequences kick in. The Campbelltown kids basically destroyed the Group 6 sides, at least in the higher grades of most age groups [last year].

“What you’re seeing now is the Group 6 clubs who were traditionally the strongest, after getting a rude shock in 2022, are going on a bit of an off-season poaching spree [from within their own catchment].

“Just watch, what you’ll get now is the best Campbelltown teams filling out the gold divisions and a pseudo Group 6 representative team all playing for one club.”

The flow-on effect, seemingly, looks like the depletion of Group 6 junior teams and kids coming through the ranks together as they get older with the best players snapped up by the stronger teams in an attempt to compete with the Campbelltown clubs.

“Warragamba and The Oaks have announced they’re merging their Under 16’s teams just to be competitive,” the source continued.

“In that same age group last year Picton was the only Group 6 squad to field a side in a four-team gold competition. They got bashed on the scoreboard on the field for half the year, then finished the year winning the silver comp after a regrade.

“They won a spoon and a trophy in the same season.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens with that team this year.”

Due to the population boom across the Macarthur, Camden and further south into the Wollondilly, Group 6 juniors are expected to grow in numbers.

But the concern is, while numbers in mini league will continue to rise, they’ll fall off a cliff from the age of 12 as fears for physical safety and the player drain to the elite-level clubs continues.

@woodward_curtis

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