Central North coach Colin Mayes is confident of cobbling together a side for next month's NSW Country Championships, but admits he is unsure what that side is going to look like.
So far the turn-out at training has been underwhelming to say the least.
Mayes is yet to have a full side at any of the five sessions held so far.
With only two more remaining - this Sunday and the following Sunday - to whip them into shape, it is getting towards a critical point.
"We would like to see a few more numbers," Mayes said.
It's a far from ideal situation less than a month out from the championships, which the Kookaburras are hosting and have aspirations of performing well in.
They sat out last year after a lack of interest from players, but did end up combining with New England to form the North West Bushrangers.
In an effort to try and reinvigorate interest in playing representative football, the zone this year introduced a senior representative program coordinator.
Moree president Paul King took on the role and has, Mayes said, been doing a lot of work trying to organise the program and get players onboard.
He's just hoping his efforts pay off.
Mayes said there has been a consistent core turning up every week. Others have attended one or two sessions.
Coming from New Zealand, where rugby is unrivalled as the number one sport in the country, he said it has been eye-opening.
"It's opened my eyes to the problem there is with representative football in country areas," he said.
Distance is a big factor, although they have tried to centralise things by holding the sessions at Barraba. It also means the only feasible day they can train is Sunday, which Mayes said "does make it hard" with many of the players having played the day before.
Also coaching Inverell this season, it has given him the chance to have a first-hand look at some of the talent running around in the zone.
And there have been several players that have caught his eye.
He believes the bones are there for a good side, the challenge will be moulding them into a team. Because of the poor attendance he said what he has been doing is just going over team stuff with the players that are there so when other players come in they can help direct them.
Mayes moved over specifically for the Highlanders job.
"The opportunity came up and I was just thrilled to get that opportunity," he said.
He brings a wealth of experience to the role having coached extensively across New Zealand as well as in the US and Canada, and has spent time out in Australia before.
"I did play league here in 96 on the Gold Coast but I got homesick and went home," he recalled.
The Highlanders sit second bottom after six rounds, with just the one win to their name.
"We're in a rebuilding phase and a work in progress," Mayes said.
"[But] The signs are all there."
"We've got a reasonably young side."
"They're keen and enthusiastic and slowly starting to accept the style that I want them to play and will suit them."
They were the weekend just gone beaten 53-5 by Narrabri but if they had of been able to hold the ball, Mayes believes they would have pushed them more.
"We were right in it, we just made a couple of errors at crucial times. When we were building pressure and had got them scrambling we'd drop the ball," he said.
"That comes with experience."
On Saturday they tackle Barraba/Gwydir at Barraba.
- Training for Central North is at Barraba from 10.30am.