Italo Stars pull pin on Premier League, but will bounce back
AFTER four tough years spent battling relegation, Italo Stars has decided not to nominate for Football FNC's Premier League this season.
Consistent player losses over the years and a failure to recruit enough numbers for competitive premier and premier reserve sides in 2014 has forced the Lismore club to pull the pin.
The decision opens the door for other clubs to nominate for the Premier League by next Monday, with a decision on the successful applicant expected shortly after.
Applications are likely from Casino, who were relegated from the top division last season, and Tintenbar, who finished second to first division champs Ballina in 2013.
A possible play-off may also be held if the candidates cannot be separated on paper.
President Dallas Guthrie said his club was reluctant to make the tough decision, but believed it was in Stars' best long-term interest.
"It's a decision we tried hard to avoid, but we've lost a lot of players over the last four years," he said.
"We believe the best place to rebuild for our long-term future is in the first division."
Last season was the latest in a few years of struggle for the Stars at the top level.
The club won just two of its 18 games during the regular league campaign, and only narrowly avoided relegation ahead of Casino.
Stars are still aiming to field teams in the men's first and third division competitions next season, alongside its junior and women's sides.
Stars club secretary Dillon Brice said the club remained optimistic.
"There's some real talent in our junior ranks," he said. "We want to build on that and push that into the senior ranks.
"I'm pretty confident we will make it back."