ROOKIE Osborne coach Joel Mackie fears he could be faced with a mass player exodus if any neighbouring leagues start playing this season.
Mackie has been inundated with calls from players this week in the wake of the Hume league's announcement that there would be no premiership up for grabs.
Because of the Tigers' demographic, players were monitoring closely whether the Riverina league could push ahead with a shortened season this year.
Mackie said several players had already contacted him this week inquiring about whether the club would clear them to the Riverina league if a season got underway.
"My phone has been running hot this week with players desperate to play footy and asking whether they can be cleared to another league if the opportunity arises," Mackie said.
"And to be honest, you can't blame them.
"Nobody wants to play in a Mickey Mouse Hume league competition where there is no premiership up for grabs.
"If the Riverina league just happened to get underway, who am I to tell players they can't go there?
"It's a scary thought but I fear the floodgates could open and we could easily lose half our side.
"Many have said they will come back next year but as they say a week is a long-time in football.
"So who knows how many would return for pre-season next year which seems an eternity away."
IN OTHER NEWS
Mackie said he felt the Hume league made its decision to scrap playing for a premiership prematurely.
The dual Morris medallist contacted league president Brendan I'Anson this week to seek an explanation.
"Brendan told me they made the call early to ease pressure on the clubs," he said.
"Well that has backfired and now we are under more pressure than ever just to retain our list which every club knows takes a lot of time and hard work.
"I still think we need to try and salvage something from the wreck.
"The league needs to have a meeting between all of the clubs, coaches and their delegates as soon as possible.
"Clubs need to approach the meeting with an open mind and have solutions for potential problems.
"I think most clubs at the moment instead have the mindset of having a problem for every solution."
Mackie said the Tigers would train on Saturday morning and would get together at least once a week until a final decision is made on the future of the Hume league this season.
"With so many competing leagues in the district they should have got together and arrived at a decision that was best for football in general and not an individual competition," he said.
"The feedback from my players is they are just itching to play and will do almost anything to get out there.
"Let's hope the Hume league's decision doesn't come back to haunt it."