Juniors and women will benefit from Wauchope Thunder's decision to withdraw from the 2022 lower Mid North Coast rugby union men's competition.
The Thunder won't have a 15-a-side representation in 2022, but president Paddy Bowen said it would allow the club to focus more on the seven and 10-a-side tournaments into the future.
Wauchope will also invest more time into their junior systems although the days of the club again competing in the 15-a-side men's format remains uncertain.
"We've still got players who come back every year and want to play a bit of sevens and 10s and those sorts of tournaments so maybe we have to think about our position as a club," Bowen said.
"Who says we have to play week in, week out competitions to be successful?"
Bowen admitted the writing was on the wall regarding the men's future towards the end of the 2021 season, but the club will still be represented in the women's competition in 2022.
Rugby union won't be lost to the Wauchope area.
"We were an aging team so a few of them had retired and we had to make a decision of where did we put our focus," Bowen said.
"Did we reinvest it back into juniors or did we try and salvage a first grade team. We decided to focus on women and juniors."
Bowen said the goal post pads and corner posts will continue to be put out at Andrews Park this season.
"I think the days where first grade is the pinnacle of the sport are long gone and as long as we're still playing union in Wauchope then that's a win," he said.
An amalgamation between the lower and upper Mid North Coast competitions could be the way to save rugby union on the Mid North Coast as club numbers continue to dwindle.
"It reflects the overall issues in the game, but I'm sure the Mid North Coast will work hard to try and restructure the comp or maybe come up with a different solution," Bowen said.
"COVID has taken its toll on a few people who have got jack of community sport."
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