Port FC will not field teams in the 2017 Football Mid North Coast Premier League

Kick and chase: Dakota Stafford clears the ball during a Port FC match last season. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Kick and chase: Dakota Stafford clears the ball during a Port FC match last season. Photo: Ivan Sajko

PORT FC's decision to withdraw from this year’s Football Mid North Coast Premier League could lead to a reinvention of the local football competition.

Port Macquarie’s oldest football club chose to pull out this season due to a lack of numbers in their senior ranks.

Club president Chris Barlow said their hand was forced and they simply didn’t have the players to field a team in both first grade and reserve grade.

He said it was more beneficial for the club to focus on rebuilding as a whole rather than struggling on the field for another season. 

“What’s the point continuing to struggle for the season because we can now take a step back for a year or two, clean the club out and start again," he said.

“It was a numbers game for us in the end and we couldn’t get to the minimum number required for registrations.”

Football Mid North Coast general manager Bruce Potter said the Sky Blues' withdrawal allowed them to reassess the future direction of the competition.

“It’s a sad decision for a club with lots of tradition,” Potter said.

What’s the point continuing to struggle for the season because we can now take a step back for a year or two. - Port FC president Chris Barlow

“But in terms of strengthening the competition it probably does do that because you have the better players playing for fewer clubs.”

Potter said it was the second year in a row the FMNC Premier League wouldn’t be a full 10-team competition.

“Now it allows us to look at the possibility of a relegation/promotion setup,” he said.

“My personal preference is an eight-team competition because that way you will have one team each year trying to get in.”

Potter and Barlow both agreed it was a good opportunity for the club to have a look at their structure and how they could return bigger and better in a couple of years.

“The feedback from their junior members is that their numbers are excellent,” the general manager said.

“Unfortunately it’s part of the cycle of any sport where clubs go through a rebuild and the penalty is players moving on to other clubs.

“For the last 10-12 years they have always been there, but we don’t have any concerns about their future.

“We know they have plans for junior development and it’s an opportunity for them to rebuild from the bottom up.”

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