KYNETON Football Club has until tonight to muster enough players for a senior team this year.
The Bendigo Football League has given the battling Tigers a deadline of January 31 to produce a list of 25 "senior quality'' players or risk a season on the sidelines.
Tonight's training session is the last chance for the Tigers to cobble together a senior squad, after just 10 suitable players turned up to training on Tuesday.
Kyneton Football Club president Cello Matricardi said the chances of the Tigers fielding seniors this year was" pretty much 50-50''.
"We had 40 at training (on Tuesday night) - 26 of those were senior and reserves players and out of that there was probably 10 senior players,'' he said.
"We do have one more training session (tonight) so we'll probably leave it till then to finalise our numbers.
"We've had some players say they're going to turn up to training and we haven't seen some of them yet, which is unfortunate.''
The embattled club, which has won just eight senior games in five years, held a community meeting at Tuesday's training session.
"We invited everyone from the town to come along and listen and hear the truth about where the football club was at,'' Matricardi said.
"We've got great numbers from under-18s all the way down (in juniors) and in netball, but our senior component is the one that's letting us down.''
Bendigo Football League chief executive Steven Oliver said the matter would be discussed at a league board meeting tomorrow.
"We told them we wanted 25 senior quality players listed by January 31,'' Oliver said.
"I'll take their presentation to the board tomorrow morning and the board will discuss it, but the bottom line is we absolutely want Kyneton to be part of the Bendigo Football League.''
Oliver said the board, with the help of Kyneton officials, would evaluate the Tigers' list "player by player" to determine if it was of senior quality.
Matricardi, who took on the presidency after Anthony O'Connor stepped down earlier this month, said the Tigers' player woes were fuelled by a huge pre-Christmas exodus.
"It doesn't matter what time of the year it is because it's always a bad time (to lose players) but being right on Christmas certainly didn't help the club,'' he said.
"Everybody goes on holidays and it's a difficult time to try and speak to players for recruitment.''
He said Kyneton had discussed a season without a senior team.
"We've had a talk about what the club would look like this season (if can't field seniors).
"Ultimately, we want to field all our teams - that's the first goal.
"The second goal...well, we've got great numbers in our reserves so we'll be trying to push that level as well as our under-18s, juniors and netballers.''
The Weekly Times understands the Bendigo Football League would need to make adjustments to its constitution to remain in the league without a senior team.
Oliver said the league had informed its nine other clubs about "the possible scenarios''.
"All nine clubs are absolutely supportive of Kyneton,'' he said.
"They want to see them continue if that's going to lead to a long term recovery.''