Anyway you look at it, it's pretty tough in the country right now.
Half the state is being ravaged by bushfires, other parts still battling the affects of a crippling drought - perhaps the worst we've ever seen - while we get more dust storms now than any form of meaningful rain.
It's tough to put food on the table, never mind players on the field, in any code of any sport.
Yep, the ripple effects of drought and natural disaster are being felt on our sporting landscape. There's no two ways about it.
With Oberon pulling back from the Group 10 competition, Westside on the verge of folding in Dubbo and the Cowra Magpies and Bathurst St Pat's both making it pretty clear they're no longer prepared to cough up plenty of coin for players, it's pretty clear right now it's tougher than ever for our sporting codes.
Simply, people's focus is elsewhere. Farms, families, fighting for everything they've got.
And if you ask any Group competition across NSW, they'll tell you it's the same story in their backyard too.
But there's always an exception to any rule. The Woodbridge Cup appears to be that special case right now.
Seemingly, footy is the best way for these clubs, these families and these players, to take their minds of tough times.
And right now, the Cup's focus is firmly on its women's teams - with good reason, too.
Over the course of the first two years of the Western Women's Rugby League premiership, you could bank on the maroon and golds struggling.
It wasn't on the back of a lack of trying. More so a lack of experience.
Wins were tough to come by, while the more physical sides like the Vipers, Goannas and Platypi flexed their muscle and, on the back of a few players with a bit more experience in contact sport, pretty well lapped the Woodbridge girls at every opportunity.
Woodbridge Cup's open outfit has claimed three wins from their five starts this year, including hammering their northern equivalent in the Castlereigh Cougars and smashing Panorama Platypi, last year's grand finalists, on their way to a maiden semi-final berth this weekend at Waratahs Sportsground.
And the most promising thing? They won't be alone.
If the girls wanted to play then we'd get them a game.Woodbridge Cup open's coach Andrew Pull on the challenges his side faces drawing from such a vast area
All four of Woodbridge's sides made the semi-finals in the competition's third installment, with a bumper day expected in Orange on Saturday when the Cup's quartet meets all four Vipers teams across under 13s, under 15s, under 18s and opens finals footy.
Vipers versus Woodbridge - with a number of players crossing over from both sides - it's arguably the WWRL's biggest rivalry.
Woodbridge coach Andrew Pull said the whole club was "really excited and really proud" to have made their way to the finals, which is a massive achievement in itself. But then you consider the logistical challenges the competition faces?
The four sides, drawing on arguably the biggest diaspora of players flung about the region, has come together from as far away as Lake Cargellio, Boorowa, and south of Young. There's players from Trundle to Condobolin and then to Canowindra too.
It's a big area. No, it's a huge area. So when getting the team together in the same place at the same time is a monumental task in itself, what does that make winning?
"If the girls wanted to play then we'd get them a game," Pull said, adding training has been somewhat of a headache.
"The aim was to participate and get growth going across all age groups."
A not-so-suprising goal when you consider the side's win-loss record before 2019. However, the side was desperate to improve, and given that improvement has been rapid, the goalposts quickly changed for the cup girls too.
Adding the likes of Sarah Archer to the squad, Pull heaped praise on the competition's leading try-scorer not just for her ability to break tackles and score - which she's done 10 times in her four games - but because of her leadership.
"Her leadership has really taught the girls how to win," he said.
Her on-field leadership has made the girls believe they can do it.Andrew Pull, speaking about Sarah Archer
"Her on-field leadership has made the girls believe they can do it."
Since beginning training in August - before the dust had settled on some of the players' league tag campaigns - the drive of Archer, matched by that of Alisha Earsman and Monique Jenart, has inspired the side.
It's given players like Molly Grant and Katie Baker the chance to take the next step up, and something for under 18s players to look up to.
But with Earsman, Jenart, Archer and Shae Annis-Brown all likely or definitely missing for their semi-final clash, with hooker Erin McCann also battling a knee injury, Pull said if the side wasn't the underdogs before, they are now.
"It'll be a great opportunity for our younger players," Pull said.
He cited Nickolle Kirby, Sarah Kirkness and Chloe White as three of the under 18s who've doubled up on games for most of the season who'd be shouldering a heavier load against the imposing Vipers side, who have only dropped the one game so far this season and have a line-up which oozes experience.
Can Pull's side overcome the likes of Kaitlyn Phillips, Jacky Lyden and Em McDonald missing - potentially - five of their biggest stars?
The rule book will say no. Emphatically, too.
But there's exceptions to every rule, isn't there?
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