Group 10 is at a crossroads.
A couple of seasons ago the competition was deemed one of the strongest in bush footy - nine teams, a swag of top flight talent and then some of the best juniors coming through the ranks anywhere in country rugby league.
Then in 2020, ahead of the pandemic, Oberon dropped back to the mid-west competition, removing all of its sides from the Group 10 draw.
Losing a club is a monumental day in anyone's book. It should be a time to reflect, consolidate and push to rebuild to ensure the future remains bright.
No one, though, could forecast what the 2020 calendar year was about to bring.
And at the end of a competition-less winter, the first since Group 10 kicked off in the late 1940s, we're set to resume rugby league minus another club.
Cowra president Marc McLeish said last month the increasing workload on a small committee had become too much, and as such the Magpies' players and committee decided to focus on fun; they'll field a first division (which is Group 10 reserve grade), under 18s and league tag sides, just not a premier league team.
The Magpies boss made a lot of good points in his interview after the decision was made public.
Cowra's a town of 10,000 people - competing against centres like Orange and Bathurst, which both draw on a population over 40,000 people, and even the likes of Mudgee with well over 10,000 - and fielding a competitive side each year is a tough gig.
On top of that, the Magpies' tend to lose their best under 18s players when they finish school, with employment opportunities naturally less than what's on offer in larger towns, or even metro areas.
With that in mind, too, drawing players to Cowra is difficult if finding a decent job for those players too also a necessity.
Then, of course, there's competition from other clubs. Cowra is within an hour's drive of places like Eugowra, Orange, Young, Grenfell, Canowindra and Cargo. All of those cities, towns or villages have at least one rugby league club to feed into. Never mind competition from other sports as well.
We've made a decision to make what we have stronger rather than try and build something that's not up to strength.Cowra president Marc McLeish when the Magpies opted out of the Group 10 top grade, preferring to focus on fielding three lower grade sides
But perhaps the most disappointing part is the way that move is being sold to the punters.
McLeish has said the decision to drop out of the top grade isn't a "sad day", nor is it a step backwards for the club.
He said those in Cowra will continue to call the Magpies first division side its "top grade", which is a bit of a kick in the guts to those currently putting in the hard yards at other clubs in a bid to play premier league. Some of those clubs haven't enjoyed a winner's beer in two years.
If the Magpies want to have a top grade side, they still could. If numbers at the senior level were at a level that didn't allow them to field two open age sides - that is a premier league and a first division - then play in the Group 10 top grade, rather than take the easy option, as some would call it.
"We haven't failed," McLeish said at the time.
"We've made a decision to make what we have stronger rather than try and build something that's not up to strength."
Anyway you want to sell it though, losing Cowra from the Group 10's actual top grade is a real blow. Certaily other clubs and Group 10 officials would have had a sense of sadness when news was official.
Perhaps the curious part, with both Cowra and Oberon the year before, is both clubs have had decent swings at a premiership in the last few seasons.
Oberon went all in for a period of about three years from 2016 through to 2018, and played in the 2017 grand final in Orange only to go down in a thriller to CYMS.
(We won't mention Mick Sullivan running backwards again, promise).
While the Magpies hosted grand finals in 2014, losing to St Pat's, and then again in 2018, going down in a heart-breaker against Bathurst Panthers, 12-10.
Willie Wright's sideline conversion is still a thing of beauty - do yourself a favour and have another watch.
Both of those grand final sides, the Tigers in 2017 and Magpies in 2018, drew in a number of imports to bolster their ranks and push for a premiership.
The lure of a grand final victory can't be underestimated in country towns. The buzz success generates is unparalleled. These smaller towns in Group 10 feed off of that like none other.
Given Oberon (1975) and Cowra (1995) are two sides in the Group 10 region enduring the longest premiership droughts it makes sense committees of not that long ago went all in to try end that pain.
But, falling at the final hurdle can hurt just as much.
The imports leave, the loyal locals who stayed are then out-gunned, and winning evaporates.
Oberon and now Cowra have made the call to end their recent association with imports. McLeish has said dropping back and using Cowra boys to fill its senior side has made training fun again. It'll make winning even more fun, no doubt.
It's a decision both clubs are entitled to make.
But what for Group 10?
The recent push to join both Western groups and form the one competition is still in the works, but it won't solve any problems these clubs that play in smaller towns face.
The points cap has worked to a degree, but it didn't cap spending. And player payments, widely acknowledged throughout Group 10 before the pandemic, were out of hand.
That will be reined in a touch come 2021, and Blayney's new model where the player of the match receives the biggest payment on game day, and then it trickles down depending on three-two-one points has some merit.
But surely it's on Group 10's shoulders to save the clubs from themselves?
Cap spending on imports across the board. Give clubs an incentive to resign local players. Basically, do anything it can to ensure the likes of Lithgow or Blayney aren't the next clubs to pull the pin.
It's highly likely Workies and the Bears will play without some lower grades sides in 2021, but will muster up enough firepower to have a crack in the top grade.
Now, it's up to Group 10 to ensure those efforts aren't in vein. Be it for a Group 10 competition, or a united one with Group 11, come 2022.
Action is needed. That crossroads is getting closer by the week.
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