NEWLY formed Forster-Tuncurry club Southern United will play in next year's Coastal Premier League (CPL) football competition.
Football Mid North Coast's board made the decision on Tuesday night, September 7, with Southern United's bid winning over Camden Haven Redbacks.
The Redbacks first grade team has enjoyed an unbeaten season in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League this year and still holds the men's northern league premiership from 2020. Their Reserve team has also enjoyed success with only one loss this year.
From next year the CPL will take in 12 clubs from Forster-Tuncurry to Coffs Harbour, with six from Football Mid North Coast and six from North Coast Football.
It was decided this year to increase the number of clubs in the premier league from 10 to 12. The Forster-Tuncurry area wasn't previously represented in the competition.
FMNC chairman, Mike Parsons said this week's meeting was lengthy and he said there was much, what he described as 'robust discussion.'
Mr Parsons wouldn't elaborate on what factors swung the vote in Southern United's favour, but he said it was a majority decision by the board.
Camden Haven Redbacks captain and coach Riley Papas said the decision was not a great surprise.
"It's pretty disheartening and it's another kick in the guts," he said.
"They have obviously picked a club based on the geographical location because it looks appealing but on my opinion based on performance there is no better team than us outside the competition.
"We have an A grade team who hasn't been defeated two seasons in a row and a B grade team who were defeated once this season.
"There's not much we can do about it but we will always have the commitment, the players and the dedication to work hard week in and week out. We will do everything we can to make it another premiership, three in a row, because they can't keep ignoring us forever."
Mr Papas said there is room for a football league below CPL with a system of relegation and promotion.
Mr Parsons said Southern United is a collaboration of two former Football Mid North Coast Premier League clubs, Wallis Lake and Tuncurry-Forster.
The club was formed this year with the intention of gaining a berth in the Coastal Premier League, president John Mansour said.
Highly experienced Jonathon Newman will be United's head coach with former Wallis Lakes star Roan Whitman a confirmed starter for 2022.
The board's decision means that the Great Lakes, Manning Valley, Hastings and Macleay now all have clubs involved in the Coastal Premier League.
The Coastal Premier League kicked off last year but its two seasons have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions.
The majority of the season was completed this year before the State-wide lockdown in early August, however, no semi-finals have been played.
Despite these problems, Mr Parsons said the CPL was an 'outstanding success.'
Camden Haven Redbacks previously played in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League.