Group 10 has hit its lowest competitive ebb since 2004 after Blayney pulled the pin on plans to field a premier league side in 2021, Bears vice president Damon Taylor conceding the club is tired of being flogged.
The Bears made the call at an emergency meeting on Friday night, leaving Group 10 with just six premier league sides ahead of its opening round on the Anzac Day long weekend.
The last time Group 10 had just six clubs was in 2004, when Orange CYMS had to drop out of the top grade, leaving Hawks, the two Bathurst clubs, Lithgow, Cowra and Mudgee.
And the bleeding may yet continue.
Lithgow was a glaring omission from the weekend's Bathurst Knockout draw, with Workies battling for senior players as well.
Should Group 10 drop to five premier league sides, it'll be the lowest number of top grade teams in the competition since 1947.
Blayney vice president Damon Taylor said the club has been thrashed for years in both senior grades - premier league and first division - and needed a few breaks to revive morale at King George Oval.
That break, however, didn't come throughout the pre-season when the club actively chased players to add to its senior squad. The Bears weren't able to land a big fish on the open market, and Taylor said that hurt.
We just need to rebuild. We need a win. We've been flogged for five years.Bears vice president Damon Taylor
Making matters worse, new coach Wade Judd recently injured his achilles and prop Rowan Hopping broke his leg at training.
The club has 22 senior players on its books.
"And that's not enough to run two senior grades," he said, with the Bears opting to run a first division side and a league tag team in Group 10 in 2021, also failing to get enough under 18s players together this winter.
Group 10 was notified, officially, of that plan from the Bears on Monday.
Blayney has previously dropped out of the Group 10 competition, but made a return in 2012. The club made finals in 2015 and 2016, but then won wooden spoons in 2017, 2018 and 2019, winning just two games in that period.
"We just need to rebuild. We need a win. We've been flogged for five years," Taylor said.
"We thought we'd attract a few but that didn't happen. We've probably got eight or nine blokes who can play first grade. There's 22 on the books."
Blayney's decision to drop back a grade comes on the back of Cowra opting to take the same approach two weeks ago, which comes a year after Oberon pulled the pin on Group 10 entirely at the start of the 2020 season.
Taylor admitted it was difficult to attract players to small-town clubs, and then maintaining a competition player base out of a population of around 3000 was a tough assignment.
He believes, however, it's not an isolated issue with rugby league in Blayney.
"It's a football problem, a sport problem," Taylor said.
"People just aren't playing the sport they're used to. Their focus isn't on sport."
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