Sawtell Saints AFL woes the tip of a bigger footy iceberg?
EVEN before the trip south began, Sawtell AFL coach Russ Matthews knew his men would be up against it.
There was no happy ending to the visit to Port Macquarie where the Magpies kept their unbeaten record at Wayne Richards Park intact with a 65-point drubbing of the Saints.
"We went there under strength and were beaten by the better side on the day," Matthews said.
"The coaches struggled to get teams together and we were forced to forfeit the reserve to help give us the numbers but we were always under the gun."
Matthews is one of many league diehards worried by the hard times clubs are facing and the difficulties of keeping players motivated.
"Unless we do something it could turn into a shambles," he added.
"Everybody needs to take a hard look at what we can do to fix the problems."
However, the 18-man game isn't the only winter code affected.
While rugby union seems to be on an even footing, officials in rugby league and football ranks are swapping more war stories than ever before of the difficulties they face keeping their line-ups motivated to train and commit to see out a full season.