It's only days before the season opener but Merrivale under 18s team is struggling for numbers.
The Tigers face Old Collegians at Davidson Oval on Good Friday.
Coach Cameron O'Flaherty said he would be drawing on younger grades this week to fill a team.
"We've got about 19 but with injuries and people going away and stuff like that, it's got us down to about 16 for this week," he said.
"So we'll have to use a few under 14s and under 15s to top us up."
It's a big difference to this time last year when O'Flaherty had an abundance of players ready for the 2020 season which was ultimately cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Pre-COVID I had 32," he said.
"This particular age group coming through has always been a bit thin on numbers - we lost about 12 going up to the senior grade (this year).
"There just hasn't been enough come through."
He said some players decided to give footy away because they'd found other interests while others were pursuing opportunities at other clubs.
He feels the pandemic has contributed to players losing interest.
"They had their weekends to themselves and all of a sudden they started enjoying it," he said.
Training is Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm at Merrivale Recreation Reserve.
"We're nice central and a really good club," O'Flaherty said.
"A great family club to be around and there are plenty of opportunities to learn and play good football and have fun."
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