CAMDEN Haven Redbacks hope they aren't the big losers out of a Football Mid North Coast decision to cancel the Zone Premier League for a second-straight season.
The Redbacks swept all in front of them in 2020, cruised to a men's northern league premiership and were excited about making the step up to the ZPL where they would face higher-quality teams.
Unfortunately FMNC didn't receive the necessary amount of team numbers for the competition to proceed which leaves Riley Papas and his side in a similar position to where they were 12 months ago.
Disappointment has quickly turned into a steely resolve.
"We want to make a statement to say we are a quality football side who has talented players and one that plays entertaining football," he said.
"Hopefully by the end of the season we can say we're too good for this division."
Should they replicate their 79-goal season it will be difficult to argue against although Papas is well aware that a repeat of lopsided fixtures will also hurt the growth of the code.
A slight adjustment to the competition will be the formation of an A and B-grade which the captain-coach hopes will lead to a stronger standard.
"Hopefully you won't see score lines of eight, nine or 10-nil because if it goes the same way as last year you run the risk of players not being challenged," he said.
"Then they leave the sport and don't come back."
Papas respected what the Coastal Premier League was trying to achieve, but the gap between the CPL and the men's northern league was far too great.
"They want to increase the quality of football in the region, but a lot of players can't commit to an endeavour like that and be available to travel every week," he said.
"Those players still deserve a local competition that is competitive, strong and provides an avenue for people to want to play in it.
"We always focus on ourselves and the way we play; what that means for everyone else we'll wait and see."
Can everyone else catch up - or even overtake the Redbacks? Time will tell.
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