Wests Illawarramayturn down promotion

District League champions Wests Illawarra have ruled out a switch to the Illawarra Premier League – even before a ball has been kicked in the promotion play-off.

Wests president Paul Boscaro told the Mercury yesterday the rejuvenated outfit didn’t yet have the financial muscle to compete with some of the IPL’s cashed-up clubs.

It leaves Woonona as the only second-tier side in line to replace the already-relegated Picton, but Sharks officials also remained coy on whether they would seek promotion to the IPL.

Wests completed a remarkable turnaround, winning the Peoplecare District League title this season despite being on the brink of collapse two years ago.

Boscaro, while acknowledging the region’s top competition remained firmly on his club’s long-term agenda, said next year’s potential promotion had come too soon.

‘‘Financially we can’t afford it as we really need to get more sponsors on board,’’ Boscaro said. ‘‘For next year it is [100 per cent no].

‘‘We took it on as a three-to five-year plan – three years to see how we go to keep the club going and within five years I’d love to be in Premier League.

‘‘As the years go on if we can get a bit more help with running the club we’ll definitely be looking at premier league.’’

Wests and Woonona will meet in the first leg of the promotion play-off at Memorial Park on Friday night. The return fixture will be played the following Tuesday.

Woonona president Frank Shaw said his club would await the result of the two legs before consulting further with their playing group.

‘‘We’re going out to win it if we can and then we’ll make a decision,’’ Shaw said.

‘‘Realistically if we win it, there are some for and there are some against [promotion]. We’ll just sit down with the coaches and the rest of the committee once we’ve spoken to more players.’’

The Sharks have already had to clear space in the trophy cabinet after their first, reserve and youth grade sides cruised to their respective league titles.

Thirroul won both the reserve and youth grade titles in the Peoplecare District League.

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