Only four seasons ago, Glen Orden celebrated one of the proudest moments in club history.
The Hawks were minor premiers in Western Region Football League division 2 and went on to crush Parkside in the grand final.
It was only 1256 days ago, but it might as well be a lifetime away now.
The only day that matters for Glen Orden now is Thursday, February 16, when the club’s power brokers converge for an extraordinary general meeting to decide the immediate future of its seniors and reserves teams.
If the meeting is not flush with players wanting to pull on the brown and gold in 2017, the Hawks could be forced to pull out of the competition.
Glen Orden president Ken Parker is not underplaying the seriousness of the situation.
“If we can’t get the numbers, it’s not fair to the league or the players that want to be there to say we’re going to field a side – and then it comes closer to the season and we say we can’t field a side,” he said.
“We want all supporters, past players and all the people who have been around the club over the years to get down and try and get the numbers up and help us out. Thursday night will probably tell the tale.”
How did it come to this for a well-established club such as Glen Orden?
There are myriad reasons, but topping the list are the demographics of the area and the club’s inability to compete with big-spending opposition.
Nestled in Kookaburra Avenue, the Hawks have plenty of competition for players – too much, Parker says – with new clubs sprouting up in new estates draining the player pool.
“It is harder for us with the demographics of where we are,” Parker said.
“We’re not in a newer area where you’ve got newer families coming through.
“We’re surrounded by Sanctuary Lakes, Wyndham Suns, Tarneit – all these newer clubs. Personally, I think there’s too many clubs around at the moment.
“The league likes to get as many clubs as they can and that’s fair enough. But it does take players away from other clubs … there’s only so many people out there that want to play football and there’s a lot less now than there used to be.”
The other factor is the almighty dollar.
Glen Orden no longer has the cash to splash around on players for a short-term fix.
The “10 to 12 players on the track” so far in pre-season are with the Hawks for the love of the game.
“We had quite a few leave, not for any other reason except to play somewhere else for more dollars,” Parker said.
“It’s all money based nowadays and that’s one of the biggest problems. I think.
“If we had $100,000 in the bank, we’d probably have three sides.
“If you look at the costs these days, like league affiliation, ground fees, people don’t realise what it costs up front to run a football club.
“We’re only volunteers down there trying to keep the kids off the street and give people somewhere to go and play cricket and football, so it is disheartening.
“We’re trying our best and that’s why we’re putting it out there – that if we can’t get the support and can’t get the numbers, we may not have a senior side this year.”
Anyone interested in playing or helping in off-field roles can contact the WRFL office on 9315 5400 or Parker on 0400 394 311.