Group Nine club Junee are hopeful they will be able to field a first grade team this year despite making the difficult decision to forfeit Sunday's round one clash against Southcity.
The Diesels informed Group Nine and Southcity of the decision on Tuesday night. They will still proceed with reserve grade, league tag, under 18s and 16s at Laurie Daley Oval.
The basis of the decision was player numbers with the club's eight international imports still awaiting their visas to be approved.
Junee president David Holt hopes the forfeit is a one-off.
"We made the call (Tuesday) night, that was pretty much the deadline with the group," Holt said.
"We're hoping it's just this week, we've been held up with visa applications so it will be a week-to-week proposition at this stage.
"As a club we definitely didn't want to be in this situation but we've done everything we could and unfortunately the circumstances were of our control."
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Junee withdrew their first grade team from last year's competition but were allowed to remain in Group Nine subject to a number of conditions, one of which was a return to the top grade in 2022.
The signs were positive early with the appointment of Damion Fraser as coach last October, followed by a number of international signings in November.
But a delay in the arrival of the recruits has caused problems as Junee had hoped they would have been here a month ago.
Holt thanked clubs for their support and assured them the Diesels have not been sitting on their hands.
"Full credit to others throughout Group Nine that are understanding of the situation that the club's in, it is greatly appreciated," he said.
"We've been working on this for over 12 months now, we're not just sitting here with our hands in our pockets waiting for a magic fairy to come in and fix the situation.
"We certainly don't want to muck the competition around."
Holt also explained the club's decision to forfeit first grade, as opposed to reserve grade.
"The decision was made due to duty of care," he said.
"We've got younger players coming through the ranks and to put them out there in first grade, we don't want them to get busted up."
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