Axe hovering over FNC Rugby
FINAL numbers this week will determine whether Far North Coast will be forced to pull out of the New South Wales Country Rugby Union Championships on April 29-30 due to lack of players.
Coach John Jenkins and a number of supporting players and coaches are doing all they can to get the message out that more players are needed in order to send a side to Port Macquarie.
"We've been grasping at straws a bit and we're at a crucial point now where we need to know who is committed to the team,” Jenkins said.
"The onus is now on the players to come forward and put their hand up and for coaches to recommend players they think we should be looking at and who is not already involved from their teams.
"But the zone really needs the players to drive this and make sure that anyone who wants to play commits to it now.
"Apparently some other zones are experiencing difficulties, too, but if we are to rebuild rugby in NSW Country areas, and indeed in our own zone, we need to ensure our representative arena is also alive and well and that we provide encouraging and very obvious pathways for our juniors. The zone squad is at the heart of this endeavour.
"We are gradually getting more interest (since the weekend) and we've done about as much we can do now.
"The difficulties of getting enough players has been with us for a few years. It's important to not shy away from this issue and to ask for support.”
FNC is scheduled to compete in the second tier part of the competition where it can win the Richardson Shield.
The Dolphins last won it in 2010 when Jenkins coached the side and they also had five players selected in NSW Country the following season when Lismore hosted the championships.
Wollongbar-Alstonville five-eighth Ben Damen made the Cockatoos team that year and has played most years since captaining the side at one point.
The Dolphins have struggled at country championships in recent years and will go in ranked eighth out of the nine zones participating.
The training schedule was shortened this season to reduce the demand on the players, limit their time away from their club sides and other commitments, and to accommodate the late scheduling of the championships.
Training will continue on Monday night for the next two weeks with an additional Wednesday night session the week of the championships.
Interested players, and coaches with additional selection suggestions, can contact Jenkins directly on 0438635371.