THE coronavirus crisis has pitched all the country's major sporting league's into an era of financial uncertainty. All will no doubt have tough times to navigate but, thankfully for the Illawarra faithful, the Hawks have had plenty of practice.
Club legend Mat Campbell has certainly been closer to death's door on more than one occasion - the Hawks had even walked through it until he helped drag it back with the Save the Hawks campaign in 2009.
It's almost fitting, then, that he's currently at the helm as general manager as the NBL's only foundation franchise looks to ride out the latest storm.
"We're very conscious of what the whole Illawarra is facing," Campbell said.
"The community has always supported us over many years through our tough times, and we've had plenty of them. There's no doubt there's going to be people doing it tough in the Illawarra.
"The Hawks will be included in that. We're not sugarcoating that in any way but if any sporting team across Australia, if not the world, knows how to survive in tough times it's the Hawks."
The NBL itself isn't immune to ripple effects, with the testing financial times likely to hold up any bid to privatise the Taipans and possibly delay Tasmania's entry into the league.
The clouds are darker for the Hawks given the persistent uncertainty around owner Simon Stratford's ownership of the club, though he told fans in February that he remains committed.
Campbell, currently on full-time duty with the rest of club's coaching and office staff, said he's been given no reason to doubt that.
"That's what he's indicated. As a club owner he's definitely concerned about the way next year might look and I don't think he's alone in that concern across the whole league," Campbell said.
"What we've been able to achieve in the last two years has been phenomenal from a club point of view. We're really on an upward trajectory and I'd like to think we're going to continue on that path.
"What we're seeing in the sporting landscape right now indicates there's going to be a definite decrease in what we did last year, which was the best in club history in terms of revenue.
"I am reaching out to the NBL to see what sort of support they'll be offering the Hawks. They're the governing body and ultimately responsible for who and what we are as a league.
"We'll look for some direction there and obviously looking for a lot of support in the current climate."
Free agency was due to open on Monday, but has now been pushed back to at least May 31. Angus Glover, Sunday Dech and Sam Froling are currently under contract for next season while there is a mutual option in both Todd Blanchfield and Emmett Naar's deals.
The club has the option on AJ Ogilvy's contract, while veterans Tim Coenraad and Dave Andersen and young Boomer Dan Grida will become free agents. The club will most likely be looking for three new imports.
"[The postponement] was essential, we were in no position to go forward in that short amount of time with the uncertainty and how quick it was changing around the world," Campbell said.
"We'd spoke to some of our [contracted] guys but you can't speak to any of the guys from other teams [prior to free agency]. You know who's off-contract but you can't really move on it.
"This gives us time to work on some of the players we have coming off contract and how that all works. We're all hopeful, as everyone is, that it settles in the next few months and life goes back to some sort of normality.
"We'll assess it as it goes because it's evolving so quickly but we've got our fingers crossed that it goes ahead as a normal season."
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we aim to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.