On the day they were permitted to resume contact training, the Wollongong Wolves finally got the news they had been waiting more than three months for.
The NSW National Premier Leagues season will go ahead.
One hundred and six days after the competition was suspended due to coronavirus, and long after other leagues announced their resumption, Football NSW finally gave the green light on Wednesday for a modified season to be played.
The news came after much haggling between the clubs and the governing body, some unwilling to play and pushing for the competition to be abandoned.
Financial issues were the chief consideration, with many teams unable to fulfil contractual obligations without the support of deep-pocketed licensed venues that were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus.
Deadlines were set and deadlines were extended before a final deadline of Tuesday was set by Football NSW. And this time, unlike the others, it was final.
In the end, only one club decided to sit out, Sutherland withdrawing from the competition.
With that comes an 11-round, 11-team competition before two weeks of finals to determine the champions of the craziest season in the competition's history.
While the Sydney clubs were happy to throw their weight around, the Wollongong Wolves were vocal in their desire for a competition to take place.
The footballers, the team argued, had to come first.
Ultimately the Wolves got their wish and coach Luke Wilkshire said the side is keen to put a challenging few months behind them.
"It is frustrating, but we can't change it, we can't dwell on that," Wilkshire said. "There's no denying it's been a drawn-out process and it's disappointing not to see Sutherland playing.
"It is what it is though, we're delighted to finally be able to play.
"The boys have been working hard not knowing when it was going to be and what they were working towards. Now we have a date, we'll wait on a draw to see who it is we play first and then off we go."
The competition will resume on the first weekend of August, with teams provided a month of contact training before the opening round. A final draw will be released in the coming days.
The first three weeks of the initial competition have been erased, with all clubs to start on zero points.
That leaves the Wolves in the same place they were in early March, defending premiers with a target on their back and Wilkshire declared his side will be no less determined to lift the trophy for a second-straight year.
"It's a strange year, there's no denying that it's different.
"Overall, we want to win. That's instilled in us individually and as a team, we want to win whatever we're playing in.
"We'll go into the first game wanting to win and we want to win every game. It will be no different this year, the fact it's half a season doesn't change that."
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