THEY were once one of the most feared sides in the Far North Coast rugby Village competition.
Now the Iluka Cossacks are in danger of folding.
Following a few lean years, victories few and far between and a decline in the local fishing industry the Cossacks have struggled with player numbers and the horizon is looking bleak for this once proud club
"We're struggling for numbers at the moment and it's a huge concern for the club," Cossacks representative Peter Duncombe said.
"We're getting just enough players to field a side but we need more. We have about 17 at the moment but realistically we need more.
"Players are unavailable through the season and injuries also have an impact."
Duncombe, who has been with the club since 2005, believes player numbers have dropped off in recent years for a number of reasons and added an uncertain future in the fishing industry hasn't helped
"We used to feature in the finals but for the last six or seven years it's been tough," he said.
"It's the worst it's been for player numbers and since we've been losing numbers have dropped off dramatically.
"There's no jobs around with the fishing industry the way it is and young guys don't seem interested in playing.
"Everyone is getting rid of their boats and down-sizing their fleets."
Even without a large squad of players to choose from the Cossacks have been competitive in 2012 and last week held their own against Murwillumbah.
"We're getting 17 players at each game and we're still competitive and hanging in there," Duncombe explained.
"We only got beat by Murwillumbah 24-12 last week and went well against Yamba before that.
"We've been relying on a few league players to help us out. We're still getting support from our fans but more players would help."
Duncombe added any players interested in playing should contact the club.
"We pay all registration fees and the players are well looked after," he said.
"Even if they live a fair distance from Iluka we don't expect them to turn up to every training session."
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