The 16 teams for the extremely lucrative 2017 West Wyalong Knockout have been confirmed and, for the first time in captain-coach Mick Sullivan’s tenure, Orange CYMS won’t be at Ron Crowe Oval.
Sullivan has always put a heavy focus on the West Wyalong Knockout – worth almost $15,000 next year – in the lead-up to the Group 10 premier league season, but the green and golds missed out this year thanks solely to not nominating in time.
“I was set for us to go over there but we missed out, we just didn’t nominate in time,” Sullivan said.
“It would’ve been nice to go over there particularly with so much prize money on offer, we would’ve fielded a pretty good side out there as well but it is what it is.
”We’ll just put a bit of a heavier focus on the [Bathurst Panthers] Knockout this year, which we haven’t done before. It might be a good thing in a way, a bit of a different preparation than we’re used to.
“We’ll probably look at going to a nines competition somewhere as well.
“I’ve never liked overdoing it with trials when it’s still hot, and with the season starting a week earlier this year we should be alright with those two under our belt.
“There is talk of organising a trial with a Sydney club, but I’m not sure if we’ll really need it.”
Bathurst Panthers will be the only Group 10 team present at next year’s Knockout.
It would’ve been nice to go over there particularly with so much prize money on offer, but it is what it is.
Group Nine clubs dominate the entrants, but the addition of Group 7 club Shellharbour means clubs from seven competitions will take part in February.
Group Nine’s Wagga Brothers, Junee Diesels, Temora Dragons and Gundagai Tigers have joined Southcity Bulls, Wagga Kangaroos and Young Cherrypickers for the event.
Four Group 20 clubs, Leeton, Yenda, Tullibigeal-Lakes United and the hosts, will take part plus Group 11’s Forbes Magpies.
Woden Valley will represent the Canberra competition while the Cobar Roosters, from the Barwon-Darling Cup, complete the field.
Only a fortnight ago six clubs had been confirmed and Knockout organiser Peter Campbell was thrilled the other positions have been snapped up so quickly.