FOR the second year in a row the Bendigo Football Netball League is facing the prospect of playing the season with nine clubs.
After Kyneton was forced into recess for the 2013 BFNL season, Maryborough Football Netball Club is in the same predicament for 2014.
Maryborough president Mick Reid confirmed on Wednesday the club needs more support from the community or its future in the BFNL would be in jeopardy.
The club has until the start of February to show it has the capacity to field football and netball teams for the 2014 season.
"We have about 20 players in total (seniors and reserves) committed for 2014 at the moment,'' Reid said.
"We have a list of 80 players we've spoken to. We just need some players who won't make a final decision to commit.
"We really need an under-18 side up and running as well and we're working hard to achieve that.
"It's just hard with so many clubs in the region here to attract enough kids to step up to the major league.
"In the end we just have to ask the question - do Maryborough people want a club in a major league?
"If we don't get the feedback we're not going to waste our time.
"The league has set us a deadline of mid-February, but we as a club want to know by the start of February.
"We're struggling for netballers as well. Something has to be done now.
"This club has been around for a long time and we don't want to lose our major league status.
"We'll keep fighting hard, but it's up to the community now to help out."
Regional Operations Manager for AFL Central Victoria Justin Abrams said the BFNL was doing all it can to assist Maryborough.
“The time is now for Maryborough to propel forward and stamp its footprint within the BFNL competition and its immediate community,'' Abrams said.
"The club has its challenges like any other and recruiting is the main focus for the club.
"The Magpies can compete financially and offer a terrific facility for any interested people within the region to progress their football or netball career.
"We call on the Maryborough community and interested parties to support the club's vision of long term sustainability within the major league of the BFNL.
"I would encourage anyone considering their support to now commit and assist the Maryborough Football Netball Club before it’s too late.
"Young footballers within the region should aspire to play at the highest level and the Magpies can offer that opportunity."
After going into recess for one season, Kyneton will make its return to the BFNL in 2014.
Reid said it was unlikely the Magpies would return to the BFNL if it drops out of the league in 2013.
"I would think it would be very hard to come back,'' he said.
"This is it for Maryborough. We're either in or we lose the lot."