The Lake Macquarie Dockers have voted to stay in the Black Diamond Cup for the rest of this season following a crisis meeting on Thursday night.
The club has opted to remain in the region’s top-flight Australian rules competition, despite half of their 64 registered players being sidelined with injury, but will consider scrapping their reserve grade side.
Lake Macquarie were one of five teams promoted to the Black Diamond Cup from second division in 2018, but the Dockers are yet to record a win this year and have conceded 1355 points.
Players, coaches and officials gathered to make a call on the club’s future, relaying the outcome to Black Diamond AFL operations manager Garry Burkinshaw on Friday morning.
“The easy option would have been to drop back to reserve grade,” Burkinshaw said. “But I think the club has taken a great step forward by making this decision to stay.”
Lake Macquarie’s casualty toll had begun to take its toll.
“There was eight, nine, 10 players backing up for firsts from reserves,” Burkinshaw said. “If that happened at any other club, they’d be in the same boat.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Dockers, who welcome title holders Terrigal Avoca to Tulkaba Park on Saturday.
Lake Macquarie, who have already forfeited reserve grade this weekend, follow up with the bye next weekend before resuming against Gosford on July 7.
Elsewhere in round 11 and wet weather has seen the encounter between Maitland and Warners Bay transferred from Max McMahon Oval to Feighan Oval.
Fifth-placed Singleton, featuring coaches MVP leader Sam Brasington, are at home to sixth-placed Killarney Vale in a mid-table clash, unbeaten Cardiff tackle Wyong Lakes and Gosford visit Newcastle City as part of the Big Freeze fundraiser at No.1 Sportsground.
Meanwhile, venues were allocated this week for a new-look play-off series in 2018 with Muswellbrook, Maitland and Wyong Lakes hosting fixtures across August 18 and 19. Killarney Vale and Newcastle City are on duty the following weekend. The grand final will be held at No.1 Sportsground on September 1.