LIKE a lot of small country football clubs, Kybybolite Football Club is struggling.
After three games and a bye this season, the Tigers are sitting at the bottom of the A grade ladder with a paltry percentage of 25.04. Kyby's total points for after three games is just 161, with 482 scored against.
But the season hit a real low with a disastrous round four trip to Penola last Saturday.
The Tigers' reserves had less than 10 players and were forced to forfeit - the first time in recent memory a senior team from any club has had to do that.
Instead Kyby and Penola played a scratch match, with Penola lending eight opposition players to make up the numbers.
KNTFL league president Michael Mourbey said the league was concerned about the state of affairs, especially in regards to the reserves forfeit.
"For Kyby it's unusual," he said. "We are hoping it is a one-off."
League chief executive officer Tony Paget could not recall any instance of a team forfeiting a senior game in the "forseeable past" but was sure this was not the first time it had happened.
Mourbey explained the league had rules to allow matches to go down to as few as 12 a side in the reserves, but that still wouldn't have helped Kyby.
And the day got no better for the embattled Tigers, defeated by 183 points in the A grade, where they managed to kick just a single goal.
"It was our lowest ebb as far as numbers go," Kybybolite's first-year A grade coach Scott Lawrie said. "We're disappointed it got to that level."
Senior club members have described their current predicament as the lowest the club has been since the dark days of 1988, when the club lost dozens of players in the aftermath of a 1987 A grade grand final loss.
The team on Saturday had 10 players out of the senior side from their 84-point loss to Border Districts the week previous.
Some players were unavailable due to being called up to the SANFL - a situation the club is happy about and actively encourages. Kyby has been a breeding ground for talent, with a host of SANFL players and two current AFL listed players coming from the club in Lachie Neale and Jack Trengove.
"We've gone that way for years," Lawrie said. This situation understandably made things difficult come game time on Saturday.
But the coach remained optimistic about the group's resolve.
"After the game the players made a pact to stick together," - Kybybolite A grade coach Scott Lawrie
"After the game the players made a pact to stick together," he said. "I spoke to the senior players and it's the first time they've been involved in a game like that." He said the game, despite the result, was an experience for his charges.
"It was a great opportunity for some guys to get a taste of league football, just to see a good side like Penola...some might never play A grade again," Lawrie said.
"I hope they can take that experience back to the the level they play at."
With around half a dozen players expected back to the A grade for the match against Bordertown this week, Lawrie is hoping for a better showing and for the players to stay committed to the jumper and improving the club for the rest of the year.