Following the 70-12 first grade defeat at the hands of the Old Bar Pirates, the Macleay Valley Mustangs announced they will withdraw their reserve grade side from the Group Three Rugby League competition for the remainder of the season.
The Mustangs have struggled for player numbers in their senior grades for the past month and president Tim Moorehead decided it was in the best interest for the club and player welfare to focus on the first grade competition.
“We made the decision to pull our reserve grade team for the rest of the season on Sunday night,” Moorehead told the Argus.
“It’s the best decision for us right now, we have two more long road trips coming up and we can’t be worrying about whether we will have enough numbers or not.”
The Mustangs will continue to contest the Ladies League Tag, Under-18.5s and first grade competitions.
Macleay Valley only fielded eight fresh players in their first grade game with the Pirates, with the rest of the side made up of reserve grade and Under-18.5s players.
The tired legs of the majority of the Mustangs players led to the Pirates taking control of the game early.
The pressure was applied to the Mustangs for the entire first half and they went into the sheds at the break facing a 50-0 scoreline.
However, the Mustangs showed plenty of heart in the second half to compete at higher level.
“I am really proud of all of our players yesterday, our backs were against the wall but we kept showing up,” Moorehead said.
“We were trailing 50-0 at the break and we easily could have given up in the second half but the boys all came out and should be proud of their own effort.
“A lot of them were playing in their second and third full game of the day.”
With the Mustangs struggling for numbers, a lot of their players have been taking the field with niggling injuries and playing in multiple games.
Moorehead said this played heavily on the decision to withdraw from reserve grade.
“We had to think about the player welfare,” Moorehead said.
“Now no one will have to play through injury or back up if they aren’t feeling right.
“We won’t have to ask for Magpies or Marlins players too, we thank them for their support.”
The decision is expected to improve the competitiveness of the first grade side, that hasn’t won a game this season.
The Mustangs were on the wrong end of the scoreboard in all four grades against the Pirates on Sunday.
They travel to face the Taree City Bulls this Sunday.