Casey Warriors president Numa Daniel is counting on the commitment of members to keep the club alive as it negotiates choppy waters through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Warriors are hurting financially and morale is low on the back of an abandoned NRL Victoria season, but Daniel has upwards of 20 committee members volunteering behind the scenes to limit the damage of the coronavirus.
Daniel stressed the road out of this predicament will not be easy.
“We’ve got a good team and we’ve got good people around the club,” he said with optimism in his voice.
“They’re diehard rugby league fanatics.
“Everything starts from that.
“They can’t wait to get back on the horse and keep going forward.”
Despite the “passion” of the people, the Casey Warriors are no different to any other local sports club or business, with the pandemic biting hard.
The Warriors have been particularly hard hit in the sponsorship department.
A number of sponsors dropped off when the season was cancelled and they have not exactly been running back.
“Financially, we’ve run backwards,” Daniel said.
“We lost a lot of our sponsors and I don’t know whether they’re out for next year.
“It’s not coming through at the moment.
“We’re planning ahead and preparing ourselves for the worst, financially.”
Daniel received a backlash when he informed members that the Warriors would not be taking part in the 2020 season.
At the time, NRL Victoria was planning a shortened 10-round season, but Daniel made the decision for health reasons to pull the Warriors teams out of competitions.
Some parents were annoyed by the decision and some players threatened to walk away to rugby union, which was planning to play before the second wave of Covid-19 hit.
It proved to be a good decision not to play, with Melbourne plunged into lockdown shortly after.
“I’ve shut down the club because of safety reasons,” Daniel said.
“I just thought it was better to shut down the season and look forward to next year.
“It’s not to anybody’s liking, but it’s just the way things are falling.”
It was a gut-wrenching decision for the Warriors, who have been a powerhouse in senior competitions in recent years and had experienced a big influx of new juniors.
Daniel is hoping to bring back the same level of enthusiasm to the Warriors that was there in the months leading up to the 2020 season, but he knows it will be the toughest task of his tenure as president.
“It’s tough, but it is what it is,” he said.
“We’re going to keep battling along and hope for the best.”