AN emergency meeting has been called for the three remaining Upper Mid North Coast Rugby Union clubs on Wednesday evening following the withdrawal of a Port Macquarie side.
Port Macquarie Pirates have withdrawn from the Upper Mid North Coast season, citing a lack of player numbers which would impact on their ability to field a team in any senior competition.
They will join Kempsey Cannonballs and watch the 2020 season from the sidelines - if there is one.
Mid North Coast Rugby Union executive officer Bob Wilson told the Port News that a final decision on the 2020 season would be made in coming days.
"It's up to the clubs," he said.
"If the three remaining clubs want to go ahead and have a first grade competition we'll be okay with that because we still have under-18s, under-16s, under-14s and women's grades.
"It's disappointing, but Pirates said they didn't have enough players. It was nothing to do with COVID."
Pirates coach Nigel Hurlston quit as coach a fortnight ago, throwing their already short pre-season plans into chaos.
"They didn't make up the excuse of COVID, it was all about having no players," Wilson said.
Hastings Valley Vikings president David Barnes shared Mr Wilson's disappointment.
"It's very disappointing that one of the long-standing clubs in the zone couldn't rally up enough players to field a side in either grade," he said.
"The concern for us is that what does that mean for them for the future? If they have players that aren't motivated now, it's going to be even harder come March next year."
Barnes said the club's preference would be to back any alternate proposal put forward by the zone, including joining forces with the lower Mid North Coast competition.
"We'll be happy to go along with what some of the proposals are, but we need to find something that's going to be beneficial for everyone," he said.
"If the zone said a joint competition was beneficial and wouldn't hurt those clubs, it's always an option.
"But we don't want to lose any clubs either."
Pirates were contacted for comment.
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