By MITCHELL DALE
KEVIN Elks knew a few weeks ago that the end was close.
He knew he could no longer juggle an increasingly demanding job and his role as Orara Valley Rugby League Club president.
One of the jobs had to go and, while the president's position pays in pats on the back and the odd free beer, that doesn't take care of the bills.
Elks knew it was time to abdicate his throne at Coramba.
As a way of adjusting to the idea of not being involved with the club that, for over a decade, he has given oceans of blood, sweat and tears for, Elks took a week off before Easter.
He didn't go to training and tried, for once, to not think about all things Axemen.
"I had Easter at home with my wife (Kylie), and tried and get around the thought that I might not be back," he says.
On Wednesday night, Elks officially ended his time as Axemen supremo, emotionally resigning from the post he has held for over ten and a half years.
The Elks era has been a prosperous one for the Axemen.
During his reign, Orara Valley claimed only their third first grade title, hosted the Group 2 grand final for the first time and, along the way, become one of the best-known country clubs in NSW.
In the last few seasons, the Axemen have shot to prominence after firstly gaining the services of former test prop Mark Carroll and then hosting the International Sevens tournament this year.
Elks, who also served as Group 2 vice-president for four years, admits that making the call to resign was a difficult one.
You can hear the emotion in his voice as he talks about how he will miss the camaraderie of the Orara club.
"Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to miss the friendship," he says.
"Not only the committee, but all the players and supporters as well.
"I'm still upset about it.
"The hardest part is that I have seen a lot of these kids grow up; I was secretary of the Tomahawks when guys like Joel, Scott and Ben Lacey and Paul Tomlinson played their first games of footy.
"But I have moved into management at work and I just don't have the time to do both roles.
"I've always said that if you can't give something 100 per cent then you shouldn't be doing it and I have already started asking other committee members to fulfil roles I have undertaken, which is not fair." ? To Page 96