Magpies asked to answer the call
THE very future of the Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo rugby league club comes down to one night of training this Thursday.
The Magpies need a big turnout of players to ensure it has the numbers to compete in this season's Group 2 competition.
Put simply, if not enough players turn up to training at Bellingen Park it's unlikely the Magpies will take the field in 2012.
Currently the club is desperately short of numbers to field both a first and reserve grade side for its opening round clash this Sunday against Macleay Valley.
Club coach Brandon Costin made a final plea to Magpies players to attend the Thursday night session.
"The easy way to end all the doubt that has surrounded the club for the past few weeks can be put to bed if we get a big number at training," Costin said.
"We have tried to negotiate with the group to see if we could only field a first grade side until numbers pick up but that won't be decided until late in the week.
"All of this can be avoided if we can get enough players to fill two grades."
Costin said he is unsure of where a large number of players who have trained with the Magpies this year had gone.
"At one point we had 34 blokes at training which was more than enough but our last session we only had eight reserve graders make the effort to turn up," he said.
"I'm not sure where a lot of these bloke have gone or if they are even going to play for us this year but if they are playing it is vital those boys make the effort to get to Bellingen Park on Thursday night."
The 40-year-old coach has been forced to come out of retirement and strap on the boots for the first time in four years to help the embattled club with player numbers.
"I really don't want to be out there, I retired four years ago and it is only to keep this place alive that I am making a comeback," the Magpies coach said.
"This club is in an extremely strong position in terms of community support and finances so that just makes this more painful for all those that have contributed so much over the years.
"The ball is not in the Magpies' court, it is all down to the players and this whole situation can be put to bed if everyone who has been involved with first and reserve grade throughout the pre-season turns up to training."
In a positive for the Magpies for the upcoming season, the contingent of New Zealanders that the club has on its books have all secured employment and have committed to the club.
It's now a matter of more players following suit and showing their commitment to the cause as well.