The Riddell District Netball League A-grade competition will consist of just 10 teams this season.
Broadford and Wallan haven’t been able to get the numbers to field A-grade teams, reducing the competition by two teams.
Both clubs will still have B-grade, C-grade and under-19 sides.
It’s the second time in three seasons that Broadford hasn’t had an A-grade netball side. The situation could have been far worse – just over six weeks ago it had 14 netball players across the board.
It has since signed Lee Maddinson as netball co-ordinator and appointed coaches for the under-19, C-grade and B-grade teams.
Wallan has struggled to appoint a coach, while several A-grade players have left the area or are no longer playing.
The withdrawal of Wallan and Broadford from the A grade competition has meant changes to the netball fixture, which will no longer be identical to those of the other netball grades and football.
Teams that were scheduled to play Wallan and Broadford will play each other, with the exception of round one.
AFL Goldfields netball manager Kim Bailey said the round one fixture had been tweaked to ensure teams weren’t playing each other four times. Had the fixture stayed the same, Rupertswood and Macedon would have played each other twice at the start of the season.
Bailey said that while the solution wasn’t ideal, it was the best option and all the clubs had been supportive of the decision.
“The problem we had was if we left it the way it was, two teams would have byes each week and two clubs would have only played 12 games for the year.
“You’d rather have teams playing than missing out. One team would have had three weeks off in a row.
“There would have been implications for the ladder and we would have had to go to a games ratio system.”
Bailey said times of individual games could be changed to accommodate coaches and players who may need to go between locations on the same day if they’re involved in more than one of their clubs’ netball teams.
Some A-grade netball games will still be held at Wallan or Broadford in a bid to reduce travel for clubs already competing at those grounds.