Western Under 21s has 11 clubs on board so far for competition's 2022 edition

THE Western Rams 21s competition is set to potentially double in size for its 2022 edition, with clubs across the region throwing plenty of support behind the summer event.

GROWING: Western Under 21s has expanded to 11 teams for the next edition of the competition. Photo: RENEE POWELL

GROWING: Western Under 21s has expanded to 11 teams for the next edition of the competition. Photo: RENEE POWELL

Eleven clubs have so far signed on for the pre-season tournament, which at this stage is planned to start in early expand to a three-pool setup.

This year saw six teams St Pat's were victorious over Dubbo CYMS in this year's grand final, and both clubs have confirmed their involvement for the new edition.

Three of the other teams from the 2021 season - Orange CYMS, Dubbo Macquarie and Forbes Magpies - have also put their hands up for another crack.

New clubs on the scene will be Group 10's Bathurst Panthers, Cowra Magpies, Mudgee Dragons, Orange Hawks, Group 11's Parkes Spacemen and Castlereagh Cup's Coonamble Bears.

Organisers are still chasing a 12th team to even out the pools.

NSW League and Club Support Coordinator Dallas Reeves said it's been wonderful to see the competition reaching new heights.

"We started earlier this year with six teams and that's jumped up to 11 nominations. Now we're just chasing a 12th team. It's great news already but it would be great to even our pools out," he said.

"We're planning for the competition to start in the second weekend of February, rolling through to a grand final date on the third weekend of March.

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"It's obviously a very congested time of year with ground availability. We have the Western's Women's Rugby League competition running at the same time and there's younger guys involved in the Western Rams rep championship.

"We'd like to see three pools of four, with three games for each team."

Reeves said it's an exciting time for the competition following the announcement of the Peter McDonald Premiership for Group 10 and 11.

"We started this off as a competition aimed at increasing retention for under 19s to 21s players, as a way of building confidence for junior players moving into grade football," he said.

"It's grown beyond that pretty quickly to an event where clubs have big ambitions and goals.

"We saw a very competitive grand final last time between St Pat's and Dubbo CYMS, so I'm sure the quality of football will be an added benefit."

Reeves and officials initially approached Group 9's Young Cherrypickers to see if they could fill the competition's 12th place but the club were unable to do so.

They have since turned to Group 20's West Wyalong Mallee Men, who have expressed their interest and are expected to give a response at some point this week.