DUBBO FC captain-coach Scott Fox says a lack of player numbers and a disagreement with the new Western Premier League format is behind his club's decision to withdraw from this season's competition.
The Bulls' pulling their nomination on Tuesday proved the death knell for the competition, which won't be played in 2013 as just three teams - Orana Spurs, Orange Waratahs and Lithgow - were left remaining following the prior withdrawals of Westside Panthers and Barnstoneworth.
Fox said the three-time defending premiers had lost a core group of players who were either unable or not willing to make several trips to Orange and Lithgow each season and with little room for junior development under the new WPL format, the Bulls will now play in the Dubbo All Age competition.
"The funny thing is we didn't have good enough numbers to play WPL but all the guys that didn't want to play have come back now we will be playing All Age," Fox said.
"The Western Premier League is an awesome concept for the region but it was a dying competition and with the new format we had nowhere for our juniors to play.
"Orange can travel 45 minutes and play in Bathurst but with no WPL for our juniors there was nowhere for them to develop.
"Hopefully after this year the authorities will look at a way to make the competition thrive and survive and if that is the case and we have solid numbers we might look at re-applying in a year or two but it just couldn't be done effectively this season."
With the Western Premier League officially cancelled, the Dubbo All Age competition is going to be the big winner with the Bulls, Westside and possibly Orana Spurs joining the ranks.
Fox admits the new competition will provide a solid test for his players. "Some people have said if we play All Age we will just dominate it but I don't particularly see it that way," he said. "RSL have dominated All Age for a while now and with the best of Westside's players there as well it will be a tough competition.
"We'll look at putting in at least two teams and while we probably won't be able to find space for all our juniors we will do our best to provide something for them."