Smythesdale president John Cranny is not giving up the fight and is looking for some clarity to help drag the Bulldogs out of hibernation.
The club recently declared on its Facebook page that it had gone into recess following a number of failed attempts to join a new league for 2019.
Smythesdale raised its intention to leave the Central Highlands competition and then tried unsuccessfully to move to the Maryborough Castlemaine District and Mininera and District leagues during a turbulent off-season period.
Bulldogs president John Cranny said the club needed to be given assurances it had somewhere to play in 2020 to help its chances of coming out of recess.
“Basically, the main thing we are after is to know where we will be next year and to know as soon as possible,” Cranny said.
“What we want to happen is we want to know sometime this year – preferably earlier than later and around mid-year to August – that Smythesdale will be playing in a league of football so we can get a coach and recruit players.”
Cranny said there are still people around the club keen to help.
“But they don’t want to waste their time trying to fund-raise or keep the talk up if we get to this stage next year or around Christmas and get told ‘we don’t have a home for you’,” he said.
Cranny said Smythesdale was in a unique situation for a club that had gone into recess given most others still had a competition to play in when it eventually came time to reform.
“We’re in no man’s land,” he said.
“That’s the confusing thing at the moment. I think that’s what people are trying to get their heads around.”
Cranny said the club had sat down with the Golden Plains Shire Council, which had helped draft a letter to send to AFL Goldfields in relation to the Bulldogs’ future.
The mass exodus of players from Smythesdale has already started with more than 20 listed on the CHFL website as seeking clearances to other clubs.
These players include former coach Stephen Frys, who has been joined by a number of former Bulldogs teammates at Maryborough Castlemaine District league side Talbot.
Frys had been a major figure in trying to dig Smythesdale out of its recent troubles, which have been ongoing since the club joined the Central Highlands competition in 2011.
The Bulldogs’ troubles included not fielding a senior football team during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.