Mitch Doring's initial instinct was dread-infested.
Back in February, 2020, Doring warned that a proposal to elevate the Manilla Tigers to first grade was not in the club's best interests.
They had got "a bit ambushed" at a Group 4 meeting, where the idea of their promotion was floated, Doring told me at the time.
In 2019, the highly regarded playmaker had captain-coached the Tigers to the reserve-grade premiership. The club had sat out the previous season due to a player dearth, while they had not been in first grade since the '90s.
"I'm happy where we are," he had said of the Tigers' reserve-grade status. "All the boys are happy where we are ... I reckon if we go to first grade, we're gonna lose a few key players. We're gonna lose our supporters."
Doring continued: "We won a premiership last year. We're just starting to get back on our feet. Something like this [the mooted promotion] comes up and it could be a make or break situation."
We'll give some teams a shock ...- Mitch Doring
That situation arose in 2022 when the Tigers returned to the top flight, with Doring now a believer. Ahead of the 2022 season, he said: "We'll give some teams a shock, and we'll give some people a shock too."
That did not happen. The Tigers suffered a procession of heavy defeats and failed to win a game. Tellingly, they forfeited their final two matches of the campaign and then withdrew all their sides - first grade, reserve grade and league tag - before the 2023 season, citing a lack of players.
At this month's Group 4 AGM, the club did not nominate sides for the coming season. In fact, they did not even attend.
And on Friday, November 24, Doring signed with Werris Creek - the blast of trumpets signalling Manilla's return to first grade long since silenced, and replaced by this undeniable fact: his initial instinct was perceptive.