Forster-Tuncurry's Dolphins rugby union club is at crisis point, as never before since its reformation in 2004.
Seven times premiers of the Lower Mid North Coast area in almost two decades, their training numbers have been alarming, with the Kennards Hire competition starting next Saturday week, April 17.
Club president, Damian Daczko, has issued a call to arms to all players considering playing this winter to attend training at Peter Barclay Field, Tuncurry, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm
"We have experienced some tough times before, but not like this autumn," he said.
"We have the best clubhouse on the coast, a splendid training and playing facility, and an outstanding coach whose record speaks for itself.
"We appear to have lost our women's team already this year.
"We did not play at all last winter due to the coronavirus and to lose our men's team now would be disastrous for the club."
Coach, Ron McCarthy, the architect of all the Dolphins' successes, shares Mr Daczko's concerns.
We had a magnificent season in 2019 when we were unbeaten throughout the season and 30 players jousting for first team positions.Ron McCarthy
"We had a magnificent season in 2019 when we were unbeaten throughout the season and 30 players jousting for first team positions.
"I'm still optimistic we will field a team, but the lads are leaving it late.
"It's no way to prepare for a hard season of rugby."
Rumours persist of several prominent players continuing again.
But actions speak louder than words, and appearances at the training field are what impress coach McCarthy.
What else is making news:
Six players attended training last week - team captain and centre, Mark Hagarty, halfback Liam Brady, Mid North Coast (MNC) Axeman forward candidate, Blake Polson, winger Steve Stanton, former MNC Axeman representative winger, Jesse Logan, and utility back, Blake Newcombe.
The Dolphins are scheduled to play Wauchope Thunder in their first-round game at Wauchope on Saturday week.
Always preying on Dolphins club officials' minds is the decision to abandon last year's competition because of the coronavirus outbreak and whether it might affect players' continuation with the club.
In other first round games, the men's defending champions, the Manning River Ratz, are scheduled to play the Gloucester Cockies in Gloucester, and the Old Bar Clams will play the Wallamba Bulls at Old Bar.
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