AFL Riverina chairman Michael Irons is not concerned by the player exodus from the Riverina League just 12 months after the competition was awarded 'premier' status. It has been a concerning off-season for the Riverina League to date with 41 players departing and just nine coming in. As part of an extensive review into AFL Riverina that was finalised last year, the Riverina League was granted 'premier league' status with salary cap and player points benefits to help distinguish itself from the neighbouring Farrer and Hume competitions. But after a ripping first edition of the Riverina League post review, great momentum has been lost amid bulk player departures at the majority of clubs. Irons remains unperturbed however, putting the exodus down to the 'cyclic' nature of player movement. "Player movement has been part of the football landscape for many years whether it be between clubs locally or players coming and going from the region," Irons said. "The Riverina has been a rich recruiting ground for higher leagues and that won't change. "Players will move from the region seeking new opportunities at a higher level, a change of lifestyle or employment or for higher education. And we can't change that. "The movement of players is cyclic and we know that clubs will continue to work to attract new players to our region as well as developing their juniors. "We also know that several clubs have had Canberra players and a significant number of them have returned to Canberra. "We've seen over the years that Canberra recruits have been fairly cyclic as well and stay with a club for a couple of years before returning back." Asked whether he was concerned by the trend so soon after making changes to the football landscape, Irons backed Riverina League clubs to 'maintain the standards' of a premier competition. "We've come off one of the most exciting seasons we've seen for a number of years with seven teams in contention for finals going into the last round which is a reflection of the hard work of clubs," Irons responded. "And we know that clubs will continue to work hard to maintain the standards associated with the competition. "As I've said, player movement is cyclic and you will have ups and downs with players coming and going." Irons did not rule out further changes to the salary cap and player points system to ensure the Riverina League maintains the premier league status. He said AFL Riverina was in discussions with AFL NSW-ACT around a plan that would provide clubs with some certainty in that space. "We are working with AFL (NSW-ACT) to set a three year plan for players points and the salary cap so clubs can have certainty around planning ahead," he said. "Player points is sitting at about the right level at the moment and there is still the opportunity for clubs to seek additional points for factors such as geography, population and lack of success. "The marquee player has been used by several clubs to bring a high quality player into our competitions and we'll continue to support the initiative. "And the Riverina Football League still remains a dedicated "Premier League" from a player points perspective."